Gaylon O. Smith, Maj USAF, Ret., “Headed West” on November 25, 2022.

Gaylon O’Neil “GO” Smith went home to be with our Lord and Savior on November 25, 2022, in Russellville, Arkansas. He was born on June 29, 1934, in Three Rivers, TX, to Robert and Mildred Smith.

Gaylon is survived by a host of loving family including his three daughters and two sons-in-law (Kim and Steve Troboy, Robin Johnson, and Lyn and Joe Jacimore), four grandchildren and their spouses (Kristyn and Ryan Riley, Jeff Jones, Casey and Amber Jacimore, and Rebecca and Austin Brock), six great grandchildren (Jack, Jeremiah, Kaisley, Maisyn Kate, Embry, and Duke), and one sister-in-law Barbara Sisson. He is preceded in death by his wife of almost 68 years Carol Sue Smith, his parents Robert Smith and Mildred Benefiel Smith Davis, a stepfather Burl Davis, his father-in-law Iva Willard “Bill” Sisson and mother-in-law Opal Mae Whorton Sisson, brothers-in-law Doyle Wayne Sisson and Kenton David Sisson and Kenton’s wife Willadean, and son-in-law Steve Johnson.

Gaylon was a charter member of the Arkansas Civil Air Patrol and earned his private pilot’s license at sixteen at the Arkansas Polytechnic College airfield. He enlisted in the United States Air Force at eighteen in June, 1952. Shortly after his initial training, he was selected for the Aviation Cadet program. After successful completion of this program, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and served the rest of his career as an officer. He loved the thrill of flying and was an excellent command, combat, and instructor pilot. Before he was twenty-one years old, he had flown across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During his time in the Air Force, he was stationed in numerous bases across the U.S., the Philippine Islands, and Vietnam.

He graduated from the USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB and flew over 100 missions in Vietnam. Many of those missions provided cover to U.S. Special Forces in Laos.

In 1972, he declined promotion to Lieutenant Colonel to retire and be home with his family after his extensive service.

His awards and accolades include: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Battle Stars.

While still in the Air Force, Gaylon earned a B.S. in Mathematics at Arkansas Polytechnic College in 1965. After retiring, he earned a B.A. in Art in 1974.

In his second career, he worked as a forecaster, a planning engineer, and a planning engineer supervisor for Contel Telephone Company. He remained an artist and avid fisherman throughout his life.

While Gaylon accomplished much in his time on Earth, he would tell you gladly that the most important thing that he did was devote his life to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Gaylon spent much of his time reading the word of God, studying different versions of the Bible and Biblical history, and teaching within the church. He said that one of his greatest blessings late in life was that he found himself praying “for” less and praying to thank the Lord more for what he had been given. He loved the Lord with his entire being and looked forward to joining his bride Carol in Heaven.

The family would like to give special thanks to two Arkansas Hospice caregivers. Kelcie Urchison, nurse, provided the excellent, heartfelt and compassionate care. Howard Wheeler, chaplain, offered many spirited biblical discussions, compassion, and prayers. Gaylon loved them both, and they brightened his final months. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and church, but we take solace in knowing that it is only a matter of time before we meet again in paradise.

Memorial service will be 1:00 PM, Saturday, December 3rd, 2022 at Humphrey Funeral Service Chapel. Visitation will be 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM, Friday, December 2nd, 2022 at Humphrey Funeral Service.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Arkansas Hospice, Russellville Chapter Donate – Arkansas Hospice or Military Officers Association of America MOAA – Scholarship Fund Livestream can be found at

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