Wallace Herbert Smith


Walter Herbert Smith was born Oct. 21, 1936, in Seattle, to Herbert and Ruth Smith. He died May 2 in Palm Desert, California, surrounded by his loved ones. He lived in Vaughn. 

Walt attended elementary school between Arizona and California, where he was a member of the Eagle Scouts. After graduating from Lincoln High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1961 from the University of Washington where he was affiliated with the D.K.E. fraternity.

In 1962, Walt started Active Construction in Gig Harbor with one employee, one used county pickup truck, and a small bulldozer. He sold his successful company in 2005 after building a large, well-known corporation that benefited the community. He won local, state and national professional awards. His expertise in site preparation led him to develop many subdivisions in the Gig Harbor area.  

Walt was committed to bettering the community through leadership and served on many local boards, often as president, including the Artondale Golf and Country Club; the Peninsula Helmsmen; Key Peninsula Parks and Recreation District; Peninsula School District; Peninsula Light Co.; Associated General Contractors; Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Association of Washington Business, and the Gig Harbor Historical Society. His community service was honored with an award from the Rotary Club of Tacoma. 

Walt was an active board member of the Harbor History Museum and was instrumental in securing the waterfront property and building the museum in downtown Gig Harbor. 

His commitment to his family and friends was filled with good times: He gave wheelbarrow and tractor rides at the beach, took family ski trips to White Pass, ferried kids across the bay for ice cream bars, skied in his gorilla suit, golfed with the men at Lakeland Village and dressed up as Uncle Sam on the Fourth of July. He coached youth sports, handed out pop-up cards and took trips to the big island of Hawaii with his golf group. His favorite trips were rafting down the Rogue River, a safari adventure in Africa, and flying into Katmai, Alaska, to see the bears. He was a prankster and the life of the party, forever serving his POGs and Green Frogs. 

Walt is survived by his wife Janice; daughter Sandy; son Kurt; stepdaughter Tracy Fisher (Greg); stepson Buzz Richards (Kelcy); grandson Kurt Jr.; step-granddaughter Brooke Fisher; step-grandsons Jeremy Richards, Chase Richards and Mason Fisher. He will be missed by his family at the beach, friends in California, and the community of Gig Harbor. 

Walt wanted a fun, casual party. Please help us celebrate his life Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m. at the Key Peninsula Civic Center, 17010 South Vaughn Road NW, Vaughn. Tailgate attire is encouraged. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Walt’s name to the Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund, the Harbor History Museum or Network Tacoma — people helping people. That’s what life is about.