Bill Smith was born and raised in a (then) rural area east of Golden, CO on November 20, 1948. Bill was born with an innate talent as an artist.
He began drawing with serious intent (copying comic book characters) at age three and painting in oils at the age of eight. His first commissioned painting was completed for the custodian at his grade school at age ten. As a kid, he won two bicycles and a nice .22 rifle from the Denver Post in cartoon contests. Sports and academics occupied most of his time in high school and he continued to draw and paint with good artist friends. Bill graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1970, where he served as the art editor, head cartoonist, and frequent cover artist for the school's "Log" magazine. Many of his irreverent cartoons are still considered classics at the Academy and are often reprinted in Academy calendars and publications.
After graduation, Bill went into the Marine Corps, and attended The Basic School with several USNA classmates in the fall of 1970. After TBS, he was ordered to Headquarters, Marine Corps in Arlington, VA, where he spent most of his five-year Marine Corps career and began his lifelong involvement with computers and data processing. He left the Corps in 1975 and stayed in the DC area for two years, working in IT for the FDIC and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Both institutions were swimming in huge masses of data, and Bill’s task was to keep it well organized and usable. In late 1977 Bill decided to move back West and took a job in IT at the Idaho National Engineering Lab (INEL) in Idaho Falls. While there, he met and married his dear wife, Jolene. They had a son, Andrew, who is now 34.
At the INEL, Bill was tasked with organizing a massive amount of data mess that had developed over several decades. His success in accomplishing that led to the establishment of his own consulting firm, William G. Smith & Associates in 1986. His company enjoyed an extensive, worldwide client list spanning a broad range of private and governmental enterprises. His consulting firm enjoyed an outstanding reputation as an innovative, value-oriented, efficient, and very professional organization.After an intense 16 years on the road, the Y2K preoccupation broke the momentum of Bill’s data consulting practice, and he began to work at other pursuits which he could do closer to home.
Bill also worked as a freelance illustrator and commissioned painter his entire life. In 2004, Bill decided to give art his full attention and painted intensively since then. His work has been shown in multiple top galleries in Bill’s hometown, Jackson, WY.
As a freelance illustrator and commissioned artist, he completed hundreds of portraits, landscapes and wildlife commissions and a wide variety of illustrations, cartoons, and graphic designs. He has won many awards in shows and contests, including "2011 Featured Artist" for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, first place in the contest for the 2009 Wyoming Conservation Stamp, "Paint America" Top 100 (three paintings), "Arts for the Parks" Top 100, and "Arts for the Parks" Mini 100.
Besides painting, outdoor activities dominated Bill's free time: hiking, snowshoeing, camping, rafting, biking, hunting, and fishing. His love of the outdoors permeated and inspired his art. He was a Master Falconer for over ten years, hunting with almost every type of falcon, buteo, accipiter, and eagle available in the US. He was also a partner in a rafting and camping equipment rental business in Alaska for 16 years, and spent most summers there fishing for salmon, rainbows, grayling, and char on some very remote Alaskan rivers. Bill also designed and built websites for small businesses, including his own.
Bill left this life on January 15, 2023. He is survived by his wife Jolene of Jackson, WY, and their son Andrew. Bill did not want an elaborate funeral service. He will always be remembered for his beautiful artwork. He will be greatly missed by his family, his USNA ’70 classmates, coworkers, and the many friends he made along his journey through life. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice.
Updated:22 March 2023
Curator: Ed Moore