Lester M. Smith

Lester M. Smith – October 20, 1919 – October 23, 2012.

Les Smith was born in New York City on October 20, 1919. He passed away just three days after his 93rd birthday on October 24th at home surrounded by his loving family. While attending New York University he went to work for NBC as a page. Soon after graduation, Les served in the Army during World War II under Patton’s armored division in North Africa, Italy and France. After the war he moved to San Francisco at the invitation of his uncle Sam, worked at KYA as a salesman and then joined the media brokerage firm Blackburn & Hamilton in 1951 selling media properties throughout the western region.

His first opportunity as a station owner and operator was in 1954 when he purchased KJR AM with partners; stations in Porltand, OR. (KXL AM) and Spokane, WA. (KJRB) were acquired in the following years. The company soon became known a Kaye-Smith Enterprises with business partner Danny Kaye. By the early seventies, Kaye-Smith included ten radio stations, a concert promotion company (Concerts West), a recording studio and film production company (Kaye-Smith Productions), a marine supply store (The Marine Center), and a radio syndication company (Broadcast Programming). Les was also involved in Major League Baseball when he and five other partners established the Seattle Mariners in 1976.

All the above companies were sold over the years; today Kaye-Smith is a direct marketing and financial communications company located in Renton, WA. and Porltand, OR.

The family fondly recalls the many Lesterisms imparting wisdom about business and life: “Don’t get nervous in the service.” “If you can’t get it on one side of the street try the other.” “No one bats a thousand.” “Health is wealth.” And “You have to learn to relax.” As long as he had a good cigar and his wife by his side, he was happy.

Les was preceded in death by his parents, Sadie and Alexander Smith and his brothers Howard and Daniel. Les is survived by his beloved wife Bernice, his children June (Alan) Brockmeier, Laura (Paul) Robear, Kim Miller and Alex (Ange) Smith. Grandchildren Jennifer (Ben) Smith, Geoffrey Brockmeier, Nathan and Lucille Smith. Great Grandchildren Ella and Lauren Smith as well as several nephews and nieces.