Neil A. Smith, 88, of Washington passed away at 12:17 AM on March 12th 2019 at Daviess Community Hospital.
Neil was born July 27th 1930 in Rosalia, Washington to Allen and Lorene Smith. The family moved to Seattle in 1942 and Neil graduated from Central Washington University in 1953 while learning the art of business and retail working for a local shoe store. After getting his BA, he was hired by US Rubber in 1953 as a sales trainee, working various Northwest territories until he was promoted to management. He married Janet D. Nelsen on June 19th 1955 and daughter Debra was born in 1956. She was followed by Neil Jr in 1959, and Todd and Jeff in ’63 and ’64, respectively. Neil found a home with the textile giant, renamed Uniroyal in 1961. His continued promotions took his family from Seattle to Houston, Portland, and Kansas City, eventually landing them in Washington, Indiana in 1976 where Neil became Product Manager of the Uniroyal Clothing Division focusing on industrial protective wear.
In 1979 Uniroyal was in jeopardy of bankruptcy and Neil, seeing an opportunity, obtained local financing to buy the plant. He established NASCO Industries (the Neil A. Smith Company), where he expanded upon the initial Uniroyal offerings, retaining the 1928 plant as one of the mainstay production facilities and labor opportunities of Washington. Finding a home, Neil embraced his new town, becoming a member of the Washington Little League from 1976 to 1981 (serving as president in 1977), coached YMCA Pee Wee Football 1976 to 1980, and was head coach of the Junior High Washington Hatchets football team from 1981 to 1986. The Smith family attended a few churches before joining the the welcoming congregation at Westminster Presbyterian, where in time Neil became a church elder, trustee, and deacon.
Along the way Neil expanded his involvement with the business community through participation with United Way (becoming campaign chairman in 1980) and the Rotary Club. He joined the Twin Rivers advisory board in 1982, received the JP Hagel Chamber of Commerce award for business development in 1984, joined the City Task Force Chairman for Strategic Planning, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in 1987, and was elected to the local Chamber of Commerce board in 1999. He mentored the Daviess County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) class for aspiring high school students, traveling on field trips to tour companies and learn about various aspects of management and day-to-day operations in diverse business climates. In 2017, Neil was honored as a Daviess County Man of Distinction through the Daviess County Museum, along with six other business leaders for their contributions to the county business environment.
In his spare time, Neil was an avid golfer, and was President of the Washington Country Club for two terms.
Neil is survived by wife Janet, brother Gary, and four children; Debi (and Mike) Shanahan, Neil (and Rhonda Pelikan) Smith Jr., Todd (and Kelly) Smith and Jeff (and Crystal) Smith; grandchildren Courtney, Miles, Chris, Kyle, Zach, Ally, Molly, Carson and Bensen; great-children Ashton, Zander, Taylor, Knox and Aria. Neil was preceded in death by brother Allen Smith.
Donations in his honor can be made to the Westminster Presbyterian Church and the YMCA. On line memories may be shared with Neil’s family and friends at www.goodwinsieversfh.com.
Visitation will be held from 2:30 until 4:30 at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 and Celebration of Life Service will follow at 4:30. Following that will be a gathering at Aces for food and drinks. Goodwin-Sievers Funeral Home is honored to assist the Smith family with arrangements.
“I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference.” Neil Smith.