Industry Veteran Neil Smith Passes Away
June 22, 2011
Industry veteran Neil Smith of Portland, Ore., passed away on June 17 at the age of 66. Though Smith held a variety of positions during his 40-year glass industry career, he most recently served as a managing partner in LRST LLC, which was created in 2010 and had formed a joint venture, Guardian Auto Glass LLC, in September 2010 with Guardian Industries.
Smith spent more than 40 years in the glass industry and was one of the cofounders of Elite Auto Glass/GlasPro, which was sold to Belron in 2005.
Over the years, Smith worked as both a flat and automotive glass installer, and, upon his graduation from Oregon State University (OSU), he rejoined what was then a family-run business as a glass shop manager, became a wholesale flat and automotive glass sales representative, then a flat and automotive glass warehouse manager, contract glazing manager, and finally regional glass manager for the wholesale/retail glass company in the northwestern United States. That business was sold to Safelite in 1981.
Smith then joined Oregon Glass, a northwest regional distributor as auto glass manager. Later he purchased the auto glass portion of Oregon Glass, and formed Western Windshields in 1983, a West Coast wholesale auto glass distribution business, which was sold to PPG Industries in 1992.
Smith spent several years on the board of directors of the National Glass Association, and served as the board chairman in 1999-2000. He also served two terms on the General Management Council for Growing Concerns of the American Management Association.
“Neil was of course a long-time partner and treasured friend to me whom I will miss for sure but let there be no doubt he will live on in spirit and his presence will forever be felt in so many different ways,” says Jerry Ray, Smith’s long-time business partner at Elite Auto Glass/GlasPro.
Smith is survived by his wife, Bobbie Smith; children Jim Smith, Tim Smith, Amy Smith and Heidi Erickson Tigard; eight grandchildren; and a brother, Jim Smith.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made to Doernbecher Children's Hospital or the OSU Foundation for the OSU College of Business and sent in care of Fisher Funeral Home, 306 Washington St. S.W., Albany, OR 97321.
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