Richard Vincent Smith of Grover Beach, formerly of Santa Barbara, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on June 7, 2019 from an aortic aneurysm at age 77.
Richard was born on February 17, 1942 in Marshfield (Coos Bay), Oregon to James Lester Smith and Eva Irene Lewis Smith. His father was a contract engineer working for the Navy and the family lived in various places during his younger years, finally settling in Long Beach, CA where he graduated from Millikan High School in 1959. He was an ambitious boy and a man of many talents. While in school he delivered newspapers and worked at a grocery store. After graduation he had a variety of jobs including a roustabout, a tool maker and an auto mechanic/service writer. He also served in the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve from October 1960 to June 1968.
Richard traveled to Santa Barbara in 1969 with a friend to go fishing and fell in love with the area. He decided to move to Santa Barbara and got a job as a service writer for Vista Volkswagon until 1973 when he become a managing partner in Sambos Restaurants Inc. He had restaurants in Lake Oswego, OR and in Carpinteria, CA where he was working until 1982 when Sambos filed for bankruptcy and his restaurant days came to an end. After taking a year off for traveling, he went to work for Goleta Ready Mix as a concrete salesman until 1984 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. In 1985 he started his own business, Santa Barbara Pasta (later Buona Pasta) and added selling espresso and pasta machinery for Pasquini Espresso Company a few years later. He sold both companies in 1991 and went to work as a property manager at the Villa Carrillo Apartments (Weatherby Enterprises) in Santa Barbara. He continued working for the Weatherby family until his retirement in 2009. Richard was a builder, a repairman, a plumber, a gardener, a mechanic, and much, much more. Through the years he enjoyed remodeling his many rental properties and was constantly working on different projects on his home in Grover Beach. There wasn't any job that he wasn't willing to take on. He was always willing to help those in need, which he did on a regular basis.
Richard was a survivor. In 1984 at age 42, Richard was diagnosed with colon cancer. After ten days in the hospital and radiation treatment, he was cancer free until the colon cancer reappeared in 1995. Again, Richard beat the odds and continued a healthy life until June 2017 when he was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer and metastatic prostate cancer, which he was receiving treatment for when he passed away.
Richard first met Sally Bisquera in the early 1980's at his Sambos restaurant in Carpinteria where she was a frequent customer with her daughter, Elena. Just by chance their paths crossed again at a local grocery story in 1983, and the rest is history. They were married on February 14, 1985. Richard always said he married Sally on Valentine's Day so he would only have to send her flowers once a year. For anyone who knew Richard, that was not really true.
Richard and Sally were fortunate to travel together both near and far, whether it was traveling across the country in their 5th wheel trailer, flying to various cities in the US (especially New Orleans and Maui), Canada and Europe, or cruising around the world racking up over 500 days visiting 50+ countries. In addition to travel, Richard loved to play Poker anywhere he could find a game, including the Chumash Casino, Harrah's in New Orleans, and on his beloved cruises.
Richard joined the Elks Lodge in Santa Barbara in 1995 and later transferred to the Oceano Lodge. He was also an honorary member of the American Business Women's Association for all the time and effort he donated to the group and their fundraisers.
Richard is survived by his wife of 34 years, Sally, his stepdaughter Elena Bisquera of Santa Barbara, grandchildren Leilani, D'mitri and Carmelo and three great-grandchildren: Sophia, and twins Jayden and Aaliyah. He is also survived by his children, Jennifer (Bob) Larson of Ravenna, OH and David (Catherine) Smith and grandchildren Clara, Tristan, Zoe and Neo of Sydney, Australia, David and Jennifer's mother Janean Stallman of Belfair, WA, sister Irene Smith of Kalispell, MT, his ex-wife Nancy Ridenour Smith of Santa Barbara, nephews Vincent, Richard and Tim and nieces Terry, Patty and Lysa. He was preceded in death by his parents James and Eva Smith, his brothers Lester, Dwight and Wendall, and his sister Blanche.
There will be a Celebration of Life for Richard at Cody's Cafe, 4898 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara on Tuesday, August 27 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. No flowers please. Donations in Richard's memory can be made to the American Cancer Society.
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123