William Henry Smith IV “Bill” died Monday, January 30, 2023, in his home in Plainfield, Illinois.
Bill was born in June during an extreme heat wave in a farmhouse without electricity near Humboldt, Illinois, to Lois Moyer Smith and William Henry Smith III. The family moved to Arcola when he was a toddler. He married Elizabeth Fisher, MD, of Indianapolis, Indiana, in Indianapolis. They settled in Chicago. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, five nieces, two nephews, and 16 great nieces and nephews. His parents and his brother, Robert E. Smith, DDS; preceded him in death. There were no children.
Bill graduated from Arcola High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and was employed at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron, Ohio. He was inducted into the Army and served in the United States Army Reserve. He enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial Management. Bill then went to Ottawa, Illinois, where he was plant engineer for Union Carbide. His next job was in Beloit, Wisconsin, at the Beloit Corporation. He joined the Institute of Gas Technology in Chicago, transferred to a subsidiary, Gas Developments Corporation, subsequently known as GDC; where he served as Vice President of International Consulting until his retirement. In the course of his career at GDC, Bill resided in La Paz, Bolivia, for 8 months, consulting on natural gas management with the Bolivian authorities. He was instrumental in establishing a school to train residents of Abu Dhabi in oil refinery operation. He continued to be involved in recruitment of staff, development of curriculum, and ongoing operational affairs at the school, traveling to Abu Dhabi numerous times. His career also took him to many international destinations in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
He was a member of the Chicago Yacht Club and the Clearwater Yacht Club in Florida. His interests included sailing on Lake Michigan, boating, fishing, travel, and birding. He and his wife enjoyed international travel as well as multiple trips to Hawaii and Alaska. They made annual trips to Ontario, Canada, with family and friends to fish for walleye. The Smiths moved from Chicago to Western Springs, Illinois, then Plainfield, Illinois. After retirement they began spending winters in Belleview, Florida, recently returning to Plainfield full-time. Although he never returned to Arcola to live, he maintained strong ties to the town and owned farmland in the area. He frequently expressed his fond memories and love for Arcola.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Private services will be held at a later date. The Edwards Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Please make any memorial gifts in Bill's memory to the Arcola Foundation, P.O. Box 100, Arcola, IL 61910, or go to arcolafoundation.org