GODSPEED! AL SMITH (1927-2017)

Al Smith — sailor, baseball player, fireman and father.

It was sad to hear from Marty Smith today that his dad Al passed away recently. Al lived to the ripe old age of 90 and by every account he enjoyed every minute of it. Al was a San Diego firefighter, who like most SoCal firemen in the glory days of dirt bikes, used to go to desert with his firefighter friends to camp and trail ride. So, when his son Marty was born in 1956 it didn’t take long for Al to sit Marty down on the seat of a step-through Honda 50 and give him a shove. It was a shove that Al never stopped giving to Marty Smith, as his son worked his way up through the professional motocross ranks. Al retired as a Captain after 27 years in the San Diego city fire department—which was at the height of Marty’s fame as the “Teen Idol” of American motocross. Al and wife Joan hit the road in a motor home and became a fixture on the AMA National circuit. They always had a kind word, a helping hand and a ready meal for anyone who stopped by in the pits. Everybody, who was anyone in American motocross, knew Al and Joan.

Al working on the Monark that Marty rode to fame in the days before the AMA 125 Nationals were founded.

And while Marty was a motocross hero, Al was true-to-life hero. After graduating from high school, Al served in the United States Navy during WWII. After the end of the war, Al played baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system from 1947-1949. In 1949 Al married Joan and they were happily married for 67 years. Al went on to become a fireman, just as his dad before him, working most of his career at Stations 20 and 15 where he rose to the rank of Captain. Al is survived by his wife Joan, his sons Todd and Marty and his daughter Jeanette. He was a proud grandfather and great grandfather of nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Joan and Al.

As for Marty Smith, he simply said, “My dad was a hero and I will miss him!”

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