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Arthur Ryan Smith (1919 to 2008)

Art Smith

Arthur Ryan Smith

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Arthur Smith, O.C., A.O.E, D.F.C, Order of Merit (Hungary), LLD (Hon.) was born and raised in Calgary, and moved to Turner Valley when he was sixteen to work in the oil patch. In 1940, Smith enlisted in the military, serving as an RAF Bomber Command Pilot. In the next four years, he flew in 36 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mr. Smith began his political career in 1952, when he won an aldermanic seat in the Calgary municipal election. Two years later, he left that post when he won a seat in the Alberta Legislature. In 1957, he became a Member of Parliament in a landslide vote, serving there until 1962. During his time in Ottawa, he met his wife Betty Ann. While serving as an MP, Smith was chosen as a delegate and advisor to the United Nations, as well as being a representative on the Special Political Committee of the General Assembly. In 1963, Smith returned to municipal politics, serving as an alderman until 1967.

After he left public office, Smith pursued a long and illustrious career in business in Calgary. He worked for several corporations, culminating in a position as Senior Management Consultant to SNC-Lavalin Inc. He had previously served as Chairman and CEO of SNC-Partec Inc. and Lavalin Services Ltd. over a twenty-year period, during which the company provided engineering services domestically and world-wide.

In 1981, the Mayor of Calgary, Ralph Klein, invited Smith to help create the Calgary Economic Development Authority. He was also founding co-chair of the Alberta Economic Development Authority, based on the model he created for Calgary. Smith was the Chief of Protocol for the XV Olympic Winter Games (1988), which was well aligned with his philanthropic interest in youth sports programs.

Other key contributions to the community included serving as Executive Member of the organizing committee of the World Energy Congress (1989), President of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, co-founder of the Calgary Transportation Authority, President of the Air Cadet League of Canada, Director of the Asia Pacific Foundation, and Chairman of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. He was the founder in 1998 of the Calgary Homeless Foundation and co-founder of the Calgary Booster Club.

Arthur Smith often shared his business expertise with educational institutions like the University of Calgary (UofC), the Banff School of Fine Arts, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Mount Royal College, as well as the Van Horne Institute of International Transportation and Regulatory Affairs. At the University of Calgary, he served as Chairman of the Centre for Innovation and Technology as well the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.

Smith was recognized for his service to our country by being invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1988, and was promoted to Officer in 2003. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Calgary in 1988 and in 1997 he received the Alberta Order of Excellence. In 2004, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology opened the Art Smith Aero Centre named in his honour, and in 2008, Smith was appointed Honorary Colonel 4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta.

Arthur Smith was a compassionate, dynamic and innovative individual who mentored many people in all walks of life. He will be remembered for his significant contributions to our community.

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