Maurice E. "Mo' Smith '61
As I thought about doing this I was feeling I should start with a base. So I contacted my genealogist sister, Sally, and asked for some places and dates previous to our Evreux experience. With all that and some report cards (all A's of course) I will do a short prequel, more or less proving that I was never in a school more than two years and I have a good solid background in being a Brat, starting with my father,
T/Sgt Jonas E Smith, who died somewhere along the bulge in the Battle
of the Bulge, WWII, in early 1945.
My mom, Betty Jean Long Smith, met and married Sgt James V. Holden in 1947, stationed at Smokey Hill Army Air Field, Salina. KS., shortly thereafter, Smokey Hill AFB, then Schilling AFB
My Brat chronology leading up to Evreux AFB, France is as follows:
1948- 49 Fort Leavenworth, Ks - Sherman AFB
1950 - Selfridge AFB - lived in Marine City, MI
1951 - Selfridge AFB - lived in New Baltimore, MI
1952- AF Recruiting - lived in Butler County/Wichita KS
1953- 54 AF Medical Recruiting - lived in Arkansas City KS
1955- 57 Malmstrom AFB - Great Falls, MT
1957- 58 Keesler AFB - Biloxi, MS
1958- 59 Schilling AFB - Salina, KS
1959- 60 Evreux AFB, France - school - Paris American High School, Paris, France
1960- 61 Evreux AFB, France - school - Dreux American High School, Dreux AFB, France
** Graduated June 1961 and flew back to McGuire AFB shortly thereafter
Fall of 1961 I was starting a 5 year Aeronautical Engineering plan involving Kansas Wesleyan University and University of Kansas. I pledged Pi Sigma Upsilon and was on my way to a glorious collegiate experience, then my family came home from France and settled in Aurora, Colorado.
Fall of 1962 I transferred to the University of Denver and lived at my parents house in the basement.
Spring of 1963 my mother and step-father became concerned that I might be drafted, though I found out much later that as the sole surviving son of a combat casualty, I was protected from being drafted and they were more concerned about me starting to drift into the 60s. I am sure my wise step-father used his connections to find me a slot with a medical unit at Lowry AFB. Therefore I was enlisted in the AFR Medical Unit and sent to training. First at glorious Lackland AFB, Texas, for basic (sweat), then to Gunter AFB, Alabama (more sweat) for Psych Tech Training, then to Eglin AFB hospital for OJT (and even more sweat).
When I got back, I found, (God moment), a job at University of Colorado Medical Center Colorado Psychiatric Hospital and moved out of my parents basement to a multi-denizen basement apartment (with a pool) on Colorado Boulevard in Denver, just down the street from my place of work.
In 1964 I met the love of my life by acting like a fool in the pool (rhyme?). Her apartment was on the third floor overlooking the pool. Of course we yelled, 'C'mon down!' and she and one of her friends did come down. We met for the first time, I thought she was beautiful and shy. She thought I was a foolish kid!
Spring of 1965 was a bad time to be in Denver. The Platte River flooded thru Denver. I lost my job at the hospital. We were planning to get married in August 1965 in Holland, Michigan, Viv's hometown.I tried working in flood recovery for a few weeks but that just meant low pay and filthy clothes.
Viv was working at Children's Hospital in Denver as a head cashier so we had some income but because of the wedding situation and need for some kind of income from me, Viv's parents kindly asked if I would like to come live with them and work in one of the automotive machine shops. (God moment). I was very grateful for the opportunity! I worked a few weeks in machine shops but then found a smelly job pitching greens at the Heinz Pickle plant in Holland and my angel of a future mother-in-law washed those smelly work clothes every couple of days.
We were married in Viv's home church (Beechwood Reformed Church) in Holland, MI on August 27, 1965. We were together for 50 years and 8 months, until she passed on April 24, 2016.
After our marriage we took a honeymoon trip back through Kansas to meet all my relatives, both Smith and Long families.
I then was able to get my job at CPH back for 9/65 thru 9/66. I took a course at Electronic Computer Programming Institute (ECPI) which ended 11/66, but in 9/66 before the course ended, because of the kindness of a good friend, Bill Welch, I was offered a position with Colorado State Department of Revenue-Motor Vehicle Division as a machine operator (Accounting machines, Collators,Sorters), back in the good ol' card days! I moved my way up to Computer Operator and then was told all the programmer slots were full and I had 3 persons ahead of me (Bill Welch being one).
After a long discussion and a Christmas trip back to Michigan to look job possibilities over, we decided to move back to Michigan (Viv was a little homesick)
In March of 68 I started a computer operator job at Associated Truck Lines in Grand Rapids, MI. In six months I was learning to program in Assembler language and Cobol and RPG. By the time I left ATL in January, 73, I was proficient in those languages plus some Fortran.
During this time Viv and I, (because we thought we would not be able to have our own children), decided to become foster parents for a group foster home set up thru two Christian agencies. I would be the working father and Viv would be the stay at home mom. A large house was bought and furnished and we started being foster parents to as many as eight children with the understanding we would have these children until they graduated from high school. That concept changed very quickly, mainly due to the courts. There was much anguish as the kids we had invested our heart and souls in were sent back to questionable situations. That lasted from early 69 to spring 71. We found out Viv was pregnant with our oldest son, Jason. We had two other sons after that, Ben in 74 and Aaron in 76.
In January, 73, I was hired by West Michigan Telecasters (WZZM-TV) to re-code some programs for commercial scheduling that ran on a small dedicated computer. After much effort and anguish I determined that the computer could not handle the load of scheduling 24/7 plus billing for air time. I wrote up an evaluation of the system (which in essence cut my position). I then presented the evaluation to management and then to the vendor. They were not happy but agreed that they had undersold and it would take twice as much computing power as they had estimated. WZZM management were very understanding and let me use my office and phone to search for another position.
I was hired November, 73 by Steketees Midwest Computer Service Bureau.We wrote systems and programming for customers throughout Michigan. Steketees used the service bureau concept to build their computer system to a large capacity processing system for their own use, eventually phasing out their service bureau customers. Through this they gained well written retail systems on an IBM mainframe.
I was with Steketees from 11/73 thru 9/91 at which time they were bought by Dunlap Company out of Fort Worth, TX. I was told I either could move to Fort Worth and manage the IT department or I could find another job. 1991 was a rough year in Michigan for any IT movement. I talked to a lot of people about this decision, most important, Viv. She said it was up to me and what I thought I could do best. (God moment) We decided we would move to Texas, but she would stay in the house until Ben graduated from high school in 1992. I would go down to Texas to live without her for 10 months. The hardest time I have had until this last year without her.
I worked for the combination Steketees/Dunlap Company from 11/73 to 9/2002 when I was laid off by the Dunlap Company. Almost 29 years, essentially, for one company from computer programmer to VP of IT with a 'standard' package. I was without work for 2 years. Just a note, Steketees and Dunlap Company are no longer in existence.
In 8/2004 along came Cabelas in Sidney, NE?? They flew me to Denver, rented me a car, and interviewed me X 4. I was about to get in a real estate agents car when the Dept. manager came out and said they had an offer to make including expenses. We were in Sidney from 9/2004 until I retired in 2/2010
In retirement we rented a beautiful apartment in an excellent complex which we enjoyed together until 4/24/2016.
I enjoy my church and friends!
I enjoy driving the activities bus for Westlake Academy for sports, field trips and my Special Kids.