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Meredith Smith, M.D. (S ’57)

Dr. Meredith Parks Smith, 94, fondly known as ‘Buz’, passed away peacefully at Swedish Hospital surrounded by the love of family on October 14, 2019. His room window happened to overlook his former office where he had practiced general surgery for over 30 years. Born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota to parents, Dr. and Mrs. Harry L. Smith (Mary Meredith), Buz grew up in a home where education, service to country and fellow man were ideals. Upon graduating with honors from Rochester High School, Buz entered the Navy V-12 program and completed his pre-medical studies at St. Lawrence University. While still in the Navy V-12 program, he then attended the University of Maryland Medical School, graduating in 1949. He was president of his class all three years. He interned in Chicago, Illinois at St. Luke’s Hospital and started his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During the Korean War, Buz served first as a Surgical Ward Officer in the Pacific fleet aboard the USS Consolation, and second as an Orthopedic Ward Officer at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Mare Island, California, where he also coached the basketball team to the All Navy Class B finals. He returned to the Mayo Clinic to complete his surgical residency. Simultaneously, he earned a M.S. in Surgery at the University of Minnesota. In the early 1960s, he moved to Seattle, and joined the practice of the late Dr. Ralph Loe, and subsequently partnered with the late Dr. Robert Lewis. Buz was on the staff of Swedish Hospital Medical Center. He worked with Belding Scribner in vascular research at the Department of Nephrology at the University of Washington from 1959-69, and was a surgical consultant during those same years at the Northwest Kidney Center. He was President of The Pacific Coast Surgical Association; Secretary of the Western Surgical Association; served on the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons; was Secretary-Treasurer of the King County Medical Association; was President of the Washington State Chapter, American College of Surgeons; was a member of the Board of Directors of the Mayo Alumni Association; and, was a member of the Priestly Surgical Society. Buz was also Emeritus Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine.

In 1961, Buz married Helen Langer, who at the time, was working for KING television and was on the Board of Kitsap Bank in Port Orchard, Washington. Never without an activity between the two, it was off to a dance club, or up to the Cascade Mountains to ski with family and friends, or perhaps to get away for a summer camping trip on their boat in the San Juan Islands and Canada. They recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. Retirement years offered more time to spend with family and friends while maintaining a passion for the sciences. Buz continued to attend Pacific Coast Surgical conferences and lectures, volunteered and was a board member of the Washington Park Arboretum Botanical Gardens and the Hardy Fern Foundation.

Buz loved sports and was quite the athlete. He grew up playing football, basketball, hockey, baseball, golf and tennis. He took up squash soon after moving to Seattle, working his way up to being an “A” player. Ever the avid athlete, Buz learned to downhill ski as an adult and was a volunteer on the Alpental doctor ski patrol for many years. He was a world traveler, cunning bridge player, ‘shooting his age’ golfer and had three recorded holes in one. He made many lifelong friends at the Seattle Golf Club and the Seattle Tennis Club. He was an ardent UW Husky Football fan, attending innumerable home games with friends and family. Not to be outdone by his children and grandchildren, Buz skied well into his 80’s, hitting the slopes in Utah, Sun Valley, Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest. He travelled to National Parks to meet up with his out-of-state grandchildren, to hike and throw baseballs. Mental fitness was equally as important to Buz as was keeping in good physical condition. He read a wide variety of books, magazines and newspapers. He was a devotee of crossword puzzles, and swore they helped keep his mind sharp. No matter the time of year, one could find Buz sitting outside on his backyard patio with Helen, reading a periodical while finishing lunch, surrounded by the beautiful Japanese-inspired garden he had carefully planned and pruned himself for many years. Buz’s temperament was as varied as his endeavors: He was quick-witted, telling stories or dispensing wisdom with a twinkle in his eye. He was serious as a surgeon, and equally up for fun and adventure, especially when it involved polar plunging in the dead of winter in Lake Washington or watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Buz, is survived by his best friend and wife Helen Langer Smith; his three children, Cydly Smith (Brian Sato), Stephanie Smith and Melinda Pigors (Mike); and, three grandchildren, Hannah Pigors, Michael Pigors and Mari Sato.

A Celebration to honor

Buz’s life will be held at the

Men’s University Club

Monday, November 4th at 1pm.

Memorial donations may be made to: Swedish Medical Center Foundation, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122 Hardy Fern Foundation, PO Box 3797 Federal Way, WA 98063-3797

Published in The Seattle Times on Oct. 27, 2019

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