Marlis Earl Smith, age 91, of Cherry Hills Village, CO passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 10, 2023. Marlis, also known as “Senior” and “Granddad” and most recently and adoringly as “Papa” was born on August 25, 1932, in Lubbock, Texas, the son of Alma (Greene) and Robert Earl Smith.
Survivors include sons, Marlis, Jr. (Karyn) and John Timothy (Wendyann); daughter, Melinda Haymons (Chris); 10 grandchildren: Mikele Alexandra Oldani (Anthony), Mariah Noelle Smith, Marissa Belle Smith, Forrest Jackson Smith, Theodore Albritton Smith, Allison Lilla Smith, William Henry Smith, Alexandra Carol Haymons, Reed Christopher Haymons and Tyler Daniel Haymons; and a great-grandchild, Gianna Marie Oldani. Marlis was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Shirley, and his brother, Albert “Smitty” Smith of Abilene, Texas.
Funeral Services were held at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at Saint Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church, 6190 E Quincy Ave, Englewood, CO 80111, The Rev. Christopher Ditzenberger, Rector, officiated, followed by a private interment in Olinger Chapel Hill Cemetery. At Noon, a Celebration of Life reception for family and friends was held at Olinger Chapel Hill Cemetery, Mountain View Room, 6601 S Colorado Blvd, Centennial, CO 80121.
Marlis graduated in 1954 from Texas Tech University (where he also met his future wife, Shirley Shields, on a blind date) with a degree in Petroleum Geology and as an ROTC cadet. The married couple was then stationed at Otis Air Force Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where Marlis served as navigator aboard Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star aircraft.
After completing his military service with the rank of captain, the couple moved back to Lubbock, Texas and started their family with the birth of Marlis, Jr. In 1965 the young family moved to Denver, Colorado where Marlis was employed as District Geologist for Amoco Corporation. In 1968 Marlis became Chief Geologist for Davis Oil Company and continued there until 1980 when he founded Four-Ten Exploration, an oil and gas exploration partnership. Marlis continued in the oil and gas industry for the remainder of his life.
Marlis also had a keen eye for real estate. He and Shirley enjoyed spending time with family in up-and-coming locations from back in the day including Vail, Santa Fe, and Wailea.
Marlis had a life-long passion for automobiles and aircraft and achieved his dream of owning his own airplanes, which he proudly called his “air force.”
Marlis was a “Fiji” in college as a member of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta, and he continued to support his fraternity brothers not only at Texas Tech, but also at Colorado College, Colorado School of Mines and as a National Trustee of the Fraternity’s Educational Foundation.
In his prime, Marlis enjoyed playing tennis with family and friends; he and his long-time doubles partner were known affectionately as “Fearless” and “Faithful” on the court. Marlis hosted numerous enjoyable events over the years as a member of The Village Club and Cherry Hills Country Club.
Marlis along with Shirley were passionate supporters of arts organizations. Opera Colorado, The Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, the Denver Symphony, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music were some of his favorites. He also loved the art of collecting. He was proud to be a part of the Denver community and a long-time resident of Cherry Hills Village.
Marlis enjoyed people and especially liked going to lunch or dinner with his friends and family. He was also an accomplished “grill-man” on his bar-b-que and shared a passion for Northern New Mexican cuisine with Shirley that continues to this day with his children and grandchildren. Marlis loved dogs, especially his pugs, and was always happy mastering his gardening skills with them by his side. He made friends easily and was a confidant to many.
Marlis will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to Saint Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church; Christian Living Communities, 9570 S Kingston CT., Suite 300, Englewood, CO 80112; or the charity of your choice.
Marlis was interned with full military honors at a ceremony by the United States Air Force.