In Memory

Kaoru Smith - Class Of 1969

Kaoru Smith

Kaoru Smith 



Sept. 29, 1949 - Sept. 7, 1973

Sgt. Kaoru Smith passed away in Clarksville, TN in Sept of 1973. Kaoru was in the US Army and had returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam and was assigned to Ft. Campbell, KY at the time of his death. 

Kaoru is buried in Williamette National Cemetery in Portland, OR.


The Johnson High alumni will miss Kaoru very much.


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04/14/18 08:01 PM #1    

Star Jackson (Damian) (1972)

Kaoru was always gentleman  he will always hold a special place in my book of memory.


02/05/21 11:13 PM #2    

T. Bruce Thomas (1970)

Kaoru Smith was my initiation into someting  more in Japan than taught in the  US.

I came from Maryland where "Block", "Coligents", and "Mods" were always at bay with each other. Battle!

I fit none of the molds yet knew then well.

When I got to Japan, It was layed back, my thought was to take this place over.

I happened to challenged him at a pool table in the teen club at Johnson AFB. Several people came by and said to back off.

My arogance got the best of me. Kaoru got the best of me. When I woke up on a counch, I was told he hit me fifteen times before I hit the gound. All I know was that I hurt everywhere!

I walked up beside him in a daze. Walk by him and left !

Days later at Johnson High School, still hurting, he came up from behind me and began massaging place that relieved tha pain. We became unannounced friends. Respect!

I am glad to see he is at peace and moving on!

There is someting to be said about discipline!

Sincerely Best,

T Bruce Thomas

02/06/21 05:52 PM #3    

Karen Schuyler (Brisley) (1969)

He was a good friend who understood what I was going through. I am so sad that I was not able to see him after high school!! He had a great smile! 

02/07/21 08:13 AM #4    

Timothy McDonald (1971)

I was in awe of Kaoru.  We were both on the wrestling team during the '69 school year.  He was number one on the team in his weight class.  He was so fast and strong that he probably could have taken many of those in the higher weight classes.  I was the practice dummy just like I ended up in football ('70 & '71).  At the time, I didn't have much upper body strengh and was not very agressive.  That came later in college from the stresses and agrivation derived from the engineering curricula.  But in High School I did have alot of strength in my legs.  Which is the primary reason that I was able to score as the top Freshman athlete during the '68 classyear's Kennedy Physical Fitness Test.  So the coach assigned me as Kaoru's practice dummy.  What a laugh.  He had no trouble flipping me onto my back.  But because of the strength in my legs and the leverage they provided, he was not able to pin both of my shoulds down on the mats.  I remember Kaoru telling me to relax and let him pin me.  I would reply that wasn't what the coach intended.  It was a longggg wrestling season and my last.

02/08/21 10:17 AM #5    

Mike O'Boyle (1968)

I recall that one day Karou and I were on the train heading to Kodo-Kan in Tokyo and a couple of Japanese citizens were seated across from us and were talking rather loudly and then would laugh all the while looking at us.  I guess they figured that they could say what they wanted, because after all a couple of "Dumb Americans" wouldn't know what they were saying.  Karou leaned over and said he was going to have fun with them, because he spoke fluent Japanese and understood everything they were saying and very much understood the insults they were sending our way.  Just before the train reached Ikebukuro, Karou stood up and walked over to them and addressed them in Japanese and told them that we understood everything they had said and that I was the son of the US President and was on my way to meet the Emperor and was deeply hurt by their lack of courtesy.  The look on their faces was priceless.  He and laughed about that for many days.  

02/08/21 12:55 PM #6    

Gus Creecy (1969)

Karoru was an all around athlete which can't be disputed. I always enjoyed being around with Kaoru - his friendly smile, personality and disposition was his make up - a true gentleman indeed. As with all of our classmate, Kaoru in particular will be missed - rest in peace my friend. 

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