Person:Courtland Smith (1)

m. Nov 1902
  1. Carmen Smith1903 - 1988
  2. Fredrick Smith1907 - 1973
  3. Courtland Smith1910 - 1971
  4. Madeline Smith1912 - 1982
  5. Margaret Smith1916 - 1974
Facts and Events
Name Courtland Smith
Gender Male
Birth? 4 Feb 1910 Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, United States
Death? 22 Feb 1971 Torrance, Los Angeles, California, United States
Burial? Inglewood Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles Co., CA

Christened Courtland George Smith.

From late 1916 or early 1917 (before 7th birthday) was living in the Mineapolis Catholic Boys' Orphanage, 1300 E. 46th Street, Minneapolis , where he appears in the 1920 census, aged 9, one of 99 boys cared for by fewer than 20 nuns and assistants.

According to family stories, he contracted blood poisoning from a blister on his heel in 1922, at which time the orphanage passed him to his paternal grandmother, Josephine Murphy, to care for -- he was not expected to live. He did, and did not return to the orphanage that we know of. He never finished high school, but worked for a time as a butcher's apprentice. By 1930 he was a salesman for Wholesale Beauticians' Supply, living with his brother who also worked there. That was where he met his wife, Clara Kuhnau, who worked there as bookkeeper. They were married in 1932, and she encouraged him to try for a program run by the University of Minnesota that allowed adults who had not completed high school to enter the University on a probationary basis. He started there in 1933[?] working part-time, and completed a degree in business administration in 1938. That same year he and his wife moved to California for her health, and he worked for a time for the St. Catherine's Hotel on Catalina Island as accountant, travelling out by the "great white steamship" on Monday morning and returning to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. Later he worked for Northrup Aviation.

In 1943 he attempted to join the Navy but his draft papers for the Army got there first, and he was drafted into the Army, but his experience in ROTC meant that following basic training he went to Officer Candidate School and was "graduated" 2nd Lieutenant in the Quartermaster's Corps, stationed first in Virginia and then in Ft. Sheridan, Chicago. By the end of the war he had risen to 1st Lieutenant, and according to his papers, had been responsible for a budget of $3.7 billion.

He returned to Northrup, but the end of hostilities meant that Northrup had little or no work for him, and he resigned and took the civil service examinations, passing first in his cohort. From that he was offered and took the job of assistant general manager of Los Angeles International Airport (at the time, little more than a runway and two small buildings). He worked there until resigning over a matter of conscience in 1962, when he joined his wife in her business.

He died far too young as the result of alcoholism in 1971.

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