Skip to content

Delford M. Smith – Valley Innovator

September 9, 2009

Part 4 – The American Dream of  Delford M. Smith

This is fourth in the series on Evergreen Aviation and covers the company founder and chief innovator Del Smith. Nearly eighty years old he maintains an active and productive life leading his company and promoting his faith and the American Dream. When I created this blog, Innovational Musings, I wanted it to be about inspirational innovators and organizations. Del Smith and Evergreen are truly inspirational.  I hope to do an Innovators Video Interview with Mr. Smith in the near future, but didn’t want to wait too long before finishing-up this series on Evergreen. The below articles and video of Smith are an excellent source of information on the man and his accomplishments. To read earlier posts…

Left: Delford Smith (right) with one of Evergreen’s first Hiller UH-12s; Right: Delford M. Smith

Delford Smith (right) with one of Evergreen’s first Hiller UH-12s

and Evergreen Helicopters, by Martin J. Pociask, HAI’s Communications Director and Editor of ROTOR magazine,
accompanied by David Osborne, HAI’s Videographer, who recorded the event. The interview took place on June 12, 2007,
at Evergreen Helicopters’ headquarters in McMinnville, Oregon. Mr. Smith has been a major figure in the development
of the commercial helicopter industry.
The following Helicopter Association International Heritage Series interview was conducted with Mr. Delford Smith, founder of Evergreen Aviation and Evergreen Helicopters, by Martin J. Pociask, HAI’s Communications Director and Editor of ROTOR magazine. The interview took place on June 12, 2007, at Evergreen Helicopters’ headquarters in McMinnville, Oregon. Mr. Smith has been a major figure in the development of the commercial helicopter industry. Read this excellent and extensive interview…
Del Smith

Click on image to visit museum site

International Air Cargo Hall of Fame Award

International Air Cargo Hall of Fame Award

2008 HALL OF FAME RECIPIENT

Delford M. Smith - Owner and Founder

Evergreen International Aviation, Inc.

Through peer nomination and evaluation, The International Air Cargo Association recognizes and honors air cargo professionals for excellence and outstanding contributions, achievements, performance and innovation through the prestigious annual Air Cargo Hall of Fame award.

2002 Award winner Delford M. Smith

Delford “Del” M. Smith was recognized by The Horatio Alger Association for his innovative leadership in the aviation industry and for his humanitarian and relief projects worldwide. Mr. Smith is the owner and founder of Evergreen International Aviation, which he began 47 years ago with the idea that aircraft could be used as angels of mercy as well as industrial work horses. He has built his company into one of the most diversified aviation business in the world.





Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1930, Del Smith was placed as an infant at Sacred Heart Orphanage. He was adopted when he was nearly two years old. Three months later, his adoptive father was killed in an accident, leaving Smith and his adoptive mother penniless. He lived with his mother in Centralia in a one-room house that had no running water and whose only source of heat was a wood stove. His mother worked in a glove factory and took in laundry. “We were really poor,” says Smith, “but my mother had a positive spirit. She had a capacity for love that I’ve never seen duplicated. I believe one of the most powerful forces in life is the capacity of genuine love and because of that I had a happy childhood.”

Smith’s mother was not in good health and he went to work at an early age to help her and provide for their well-being. Their home was near the railroad tracks, and he collected the coal that fell from the trains, then sold it for a nickel a bucket. He had three paper routes, set pins in a bowling alley, mowed lawns, delivered ice, and worked in a dog kennel. He also caddied on golf courses and worked on farms during the summer.

At a very early age, Smith knew it would be up to him to improve their circumstances. At the age of seven, he took out a loan of $2.50 from the local bank to buy a lawn mower. His thriving lawn mowing business soon allowed him to pay back his loan. By the time he was 11, he had earned enough to make a down payment on a home for himself and his mother. Later, he was able to use the equity in that home to help pay his college tuition. Read the full article…

About these ads
3 Comments leave one →
  1. J Branstetter permalink
    July 22, 2012 2:27 pm

    Did you ever do a video interview with him? I would really like to see it.

    • August 6, 2012 7:57 am

      I haven’t sat down to interview Mr. Smith. I would like to, he’s had a fascinating career and a rich and tragic life.

  2. Rusty Shackleford permalink
    August 5, 2012 3:30 am

    His greed and poor business decisions are going to be his downfall. Hell, it’s already happening.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: