Art Smith Biography

Art Smith Biography

Captain Arthur "Art" Ryan Smith Jr., OCAOEDFC (16 May 1919 – 30 June 2008) was an oilfield worker, fighter pilot, executive business man, magazine editor, he also worked in public relations as an advertising executive and was a Canadian politician on the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Arthur Ryan Smith was born in CalgaryAlberta on 16 May 1919 to parents Arthur LeRoy Smith and Sara Isobel Ryan. Mr. Smith grew up in Calgary, and later in British Columbia. He got his first job as an oil field worker at the age of 16 in Turner Valley, Alberta and spent four years working in the oil patch.

At the outbreak of World War II Smith enlisted in the Canadian Forces. He became a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and flew 34 combat missions on Lancaster bombers. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his military service. When Smith returned home from the war he went back to working in the oil patch. He worked his way up from Roughneck to Assistant of the President at the Anglo-American Oil Company. In 1952 he became editor for the publication Petroleum Exploration Digest.

He is one of the few Canadians to have served as a city alderman, Member of the Provincial Legislature, and a three-times-elected Member to the House of Commons.  Mr. Smith represented Canada as a delegate to the United Nations in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

Mr. Smith became an influential businessman after his career in public office. In 1961 he and Milt Harradence used their political influence with Prime John Diefenbaker to make Lynn Garrison’s Lancaster Memorial Fund a success. This saw Lancaster FM-136, purchased from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation by Lynn Garrison, displayed at McCall Field, Calgary as a memorial to those who had trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

His public contributions included: Executive Member of the Organizing Committee for the World Energy Congress; Chief of Protocol for the XV Olympic Winter Games; President of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce; President of the Air Cadet League of Canada; Board Member of the Asia Pacific Foundation, the Calgary Airport Authority, and the Alberta Cancer Foundation; Chairman of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires; and Co-Chair of the Strategic Transportation Advisory Committee.  Mr. Smith is also a former chairman of The Van Horne Institute, and in 2004 arranged for the construction of a memorial statue to Alberta’s airmen who died in the Second World War.

Mr. Smith was awarded numerous honours and distinctions over the course of his life. He was awarded The Order of Canada as a Member in 1989, as an Officer in 2003, The Alberta Order of Excellence in 1997 and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree plus an Honorary Bachelor degree in Applied Technology.  The following have adopted his name: Affordable Housing Home; Air Force Art Gallery; Calgary Economic Development Authority Presentation Hall; the SAIT Aero Centre and most recently the Art Smith Aviation Academy.  He was also appointed the first Honorary Colonel of 4 Wing Cold Lake on 28 Jan 2008.

Honours and Awards Received by Art Smith:

Distinguished Flying Cross: 1943

Canadian Centennial Jubilee Medal: 1977  

Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Year: 1985

Mount Royal College, Distinguished Citizen Award: 1985

Calgary Centennial Award of Merit: 1985

University of Calgary, Honorary Doctorate of Law: 1987

Calgary Olympic Development Association, Olympic Torch and Life Membership: 1988

Member of the Order of Canada: 1989

Alberta Government Achievement Award: 1989

Queen’s 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal: 1992

Association of Professional Engineers, A.P.E.G.G.A elected as Honorary Member: 1994

University of Calgary, Award of Excellence of International Business: 1995

Honorary Member, Scouts Canada: 1996

Alberta Order of Excellence: 1997

Honorary Colonel – 416 Fighter Squadron: 1997

Order of Merit (Hungary): 1998

Rotary integrity Award: 1999

Neil Armstrong Memorial Aviation Award: 1999

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Award: 2001

Museum of the Regiments, Honorary Commander: 2001

City of Calgary Lifetime Achievement Award: 2002

Queen’s Jubilee Medal: 2002

Order of Canada Promotion to “Officer”: 2003