Search billions of records on

You Are Here > Home > Indiana Bios > Glendon & Betty (Miller) Smith

Glendon & Betty (Miller) Smith

Submitted by: JP Smith
- Madison County

"Glenny" was born in the Jenner house, Elwood, Madison County, Indiana, the oldest of his five siblings. He naturally grew into learning the chores and ways of the farm from his Dad and Grandfather. At that time, the term horsepower, really meant powered by horses. The fields were plowed and disked by horse drawn implements. The only light in the dark barn, was a coal oil (kerosene) lantern. Single cylinder, water cooled four cycle engines and early tractors, powered wide drive belts that ran the threshing machines and other belt driven equipment. Horse drawn buggies and wagons were the transport of his father's day, and overlapped into his young life. Change came slowly to farms. Tractors didn't outnumber horses on farms until 1955. Glendon went to school to learn "the three R's", played basketball for the "Ag" team and later, to learn scientific developments in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.

A young lady at the school in Frankton, turned his head, and made farming seem like only something to do when he wasn't thinking of, or being with, Betty Miller. They married and started a family during his service in the Army Air Corp. For a time he was an Ordinance Inspector in Muncie, IN. Both of their families provided needed support for Betty and young Michael, when they weren't able to be where Glendon was stationed (Washington state).

Glen and his friend John Perry Jackson joined the Army Air Corp at the beginning of World War II. They were assigned to the 44th Division, 324th Regiment, attached to Headquarters and trained for Intelligence and Recon. Activated September, 1940 at Fort Dix, N.J., the 44th conducted maneuvers in: the Carolinas; Camp Claiborne, Louisiana; Fort Lewis, Washington; and Camp Lewis, Kansas. He was injured in a Jeep rollover stateside and spent months in the hospital. When he came out, his regiment had shipped out, and he was reassigned to Ft. Jackson. In the summer of 1940 he shipped out on the U.S.S. Fairfax for the two week voyage to the Azores to build an air base amid unfriendly Portuguese. The Portuguese declared Lajes Field capable of air defense on 11 July 1941. The military activities in the Azores grew in 1942 as Gladiator aircraft evolved into flying cover missions for allied convoys, reconnaissance missions and meteorological flights. Hudsons, Lancasters, Flying Fortresses, Yorks, and Wellingtons began to operate against German U-boats around a 500-mile radius of the Azores.The G.I.'s were trained on how to abandon ship by jumping into the sea with burning fuel oil. He didn't care for that at all. He was finally allowed a month leave to go home and see his family. While there, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed on and Vice President Harry Truman took over. The new president announced a program whereby any serviceman having 75 points and stateside, could stay in the U.S.A. He mustered out of the 1377 Army Air Force Base Unit at the rank of Technical Sargeant, 5th Grade, on November 27th, 1945.

Like many, Betty and Glen were finally able to restart their life together after the end of the war. They were excited and nervous to buy their own 80 acre farm southwest of Elwood, Indiana. They moved their four sons into the drafty farmhouse to begin farming, raising chickens and hogs. In the evenings he would work in a machine shop to bring in cash. Even working so hard, the deck was stacked against him. The doctor regretted to inform him that if he stayed in the midwest, hayfever would claim his life. What to do? They knew a Hoosier family (Don Botts) that had relocated to Tucson, Arizona. Likely conversations with them convinced Glen to take a trip out West to explore the available opportunities. Motorola in Phoenix was hiring machinists at the time and he chose Tempe as the place to move his young family. As he found success at the 52nd street plant, he moved the family to the quiet citrus community of Mesa. Gradually he was chosen to be the P.D.Q. Shop manager, providing in-house manufacturing support. Those experiences enabled him to become founder and owner of a million dollar company, International Technical Systems, that designed and built semiconductor (silicon wafer) processing equipment and medical industry devices. In an odd twist of fate the brain probe concept he invented with Barrow Neurological Institute ended up being used on his grand daughter to treat her Parkinson's Disease. Not bad for a shoeless farm boy beginning.

Family vacations included road trips in the International Harvester truck to Indiana, continuing relationships with family and friends. During the Mesa years Betty and Glen were active in the First Methodist church, the Boy Scout Troop 51 and the Explorer Scout Post. There were wild canoe trips, camping adventures and long hikes despite the plate in his leg from the Jeep accident. When a new Methodist church was started closer to their home, they became founding members of St. Andrews. During this time, the oldest son Michael, was unknowingly suffering with Bipolar Disorder. His erratic behavior forced Glen and Betty to adopt grandchildren Katherine and Michael Jr. (Sam) to keep them with the family. They sacrificed their easy empty nest years to raise more rowdy kids. As the grandkids began to find their own way, Betty was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away after four suffering years. Glen never mentally recovered from that devastating loss. After a month, he mistakenly married Betty's nurse, who verbally abused him until she discarded him after taking everything of value. He spent his last years living with son Marty and eventually at a care center. Throughout his life Glen was a helpful friend to any who asked, mixing comfortably with corporate tycoons or homeless people.
Copyright J.P. Smith, 2008

GLENDON F. SMITH, 1922 - 2008

Glen Smith, formerly of Elwood Indiana, passed away Thursday, December 4 at the Citadel Care Center in Mesa, Arizona. He married Betty Miller, the love of his life, prior to joining the Army. During WW II he served with the 44th Division, 324th Regiment, stationed in the Azores.

He was a Farmer and Stockman prior to moving the family to Arizona in 1960. Glen was employed by Motorola at the 52nd Street location at the beginning of the manufacture of transistors when they were the size of one’s fingertip. He moved up the organization becoming PDQ Shop manager.

The lure of having his own machine shop led Glen to create International Technical Systems which became a million dollar venture designing and building semiconductor processing equipment in Arizona and Colorado.

He is preceded in death by wife Betty in 1983. Surviving are sisters: Dr. Margaret Dietzer of Anderson Indiana; Elizabeth Woodsides of Elwood, Indiana; Marylou Davis of Chandler Arizona; brothers: Eddie and Fernando both of Elwood Indiana. Also surviving are sons: Michael of Payson, Arizona; David of Show Low, Arizona; John of Mesa, Arizona and Martin also of Mesa.

A celebration of his life and sense of humor will be held 11:30 on Sunday, 14 December, at Joe’s Bar-b-que in Gilbert, followed by a memorial service at 1:00 in the Falconer Funeral Home also in Gilbert, Arizona.