Sherman C. ‘Red’ Smith

Alaska pioneer Sherman Clayton “Red” Smith Jr., 89, died of natural causes at his winter home in Rio Hondo, Texas, on Dec. 8, 2013,with his son Sherman Clayton “Clay” Smith IV at his side. 

A graveside service will be held at the Cooper Landing Cemetery at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. 

Red was born in Madison, S.D., on Dec. 14, 1923, to Sherman Clayton Smith Sr. and Lillian May Hanneman. He was raised in the Rio Grande Valley towns of Mission, La Feria and Brownsville, Texas. 

After graduating from La Feria High School he moved to California and joined the U.S. Marines, serving from 1941 to 1945. He was a member of the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion in the South Pacific. After an honorary discharge, Red attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in geology in 1949. 

Red first came to Alaska in the summer of 1948 and returned to stay in 1949. He married Mardelle Minnette Shepherd in Cooper Landing on Aug. 12, 1950, and made his home there since. Red and Dell raised their family in Cooper Landing at their home on Kenai Lake. Red built the original Kenai Lake Lodge, worked as a registered big game guide, owned a sawmill, worked construction, and worked for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Kenai Peninsula Borough. 

Red was a published poet and enjoyed hunting, fishing and prospecting in the great Alaska outdoors. He was a supporter of gun rights and believed strongly in upholding the U.S. and Alaska constitutions. 

Sherman C. “Red” Smith was preceded in death by his first wife of 30 years, Mardelle Smith, and first son Sherman Clayton Smith III. 

He is survived by children Larry (Cynthia) Smith, Joseph “Dan” Smith, Timothy (Elyse) Smith, Pixie Smith, and Sherman C. “Clay” Smith IV, and Clay’s mother, Lynda K. Smith; grandchildren, Tim (Lora) Smith Jr., Laurie (Gabriel) Chavez, Michelle (Joey) Wicker, Matthew Smith, Mikala (Neil) Fulsang, Chelsey, Jessica, and Nikolas Smith, Tiffany (Josh) Holly, and Ashley Smith; three great-granddaughters, Alessandra, Milan, and Elena; sister Dara Kaupp; nephew, Mike (Patricia) Mitchell, and niece, Lillian (Roger) Dorcas. 

Memorial donations can be made in Red’s name to the Cooper Landing Community Club, P.O. Box 508, Cooper Landing, AK 99572.

Arrangements were by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai. Please visit Red’s online guestbook at