Hilton Eugene Smith was born on June 16, 1935, in the small town of Exmore, Virginia, to Raymond and Pearl Smith.
Born to an identical twin mother, Pearl, that spent most of her life close to her sister, Ruth, Hilton too was close to his look-a-like cousin, Clinton and his younger siblings, sister Emma and brother, Charles. As a youth, they spent their childhood in Virginia, New York, and Philadelphia where their close-knit family was located. Hilton was also close to his aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Though his family and many others already knew this, it was confirmed after recently finding his grade school report cards (which he kept) that he was smart his entire life. He proudly made all A’s and only one B, which explained why he was such an advocate of education and hard work with his daughters.
After high school, Hilton attended and graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and joined the U.S. Army, traveling the world and gaining expertise in the medical field. It was a visit with a close friend that brought him to Portland, where he quickly fell in love with the City of Roses and made Portland his home.
Hilton had a 30-year medical career at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and retired there as the Chief Nuclear Medical Technologist. At the VA, he also worked as an Equal Employment Opportunity Officer where he advocated for the rights of others. His love of basketball and the Portland Trail Blazers led him to get a part-time job at the Memorial Coliseum, enabling him to watch endless games and concerts, and make lifelong friends.
Hilton was very active in the community. He was a member—including financial—as he would often say of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated for 66 years. He was a Royal Rosarian and was often seen walking in the Rose Parade in his distinctive white suit and straw hat. He was committed to his church, Bethel A.M.E. where was a member of the Trustee Board, taught Sunday school, and was active with the Men of Bethel.
Hilton was married to his loving wife Bobbi Bradford Smith, for 27 blessed years. Hilton went to grade school, high school and college football games to watch his three grandsons play over the last 20 years. He enjoyed walking with his wife around their neighborhood and he was an enthusiast of crossword puzzles. He also attended his great granddaughter’s dance recitals. He was a man of routine, loved salmon, peanuts in the shell, candy with peanuts, or anything with bananas. For those that knew him well, you knew he was a man of few words, but when he spoke, he was thoughtful, wise, and kindhearted. The sound of his laugh and his big smile was a gift to all who knew him.
He will forever be missed and remembered by all whom he touched and loved. He is survived by his wife, Bobbi Bradford Smith; his sister Emma Draper; daughters Lori Smith, Tracy M. Smith, Cobi Lewis, and Ainya Bradford; grandchildren Michael and Marcus Dyer, Miles and Nina Jackson, Tara and Christopher Warren, and great-grandchildren Tyson and Mikaela Dyer; nephew David Smith, niece Evangeline Draper, and great-niece Danielle Hawthorn; and cousin Anita Bonner. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Raymond and Pearl Smith, his brother Charles Smith, cousin Clinton and a host of close uncles and aunts.
Rest in peace and love in His Heavenly Arms. Amen.
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