Born in Oklahoma City, Richard Smith graduated Wichita East High School in 1951, University of Kansas (Geology) in 1955, served in the U.S. Navy (Lieutenant), graduated Harvard University (Master’s Geology 1959), founder and president of Range Oil Co., Inc. 1964. president Kansas Oil and Gas Association (KIOGA), chairman Wichita Chamber of Commerce, chairman United Way Wichita, Board of Directors Coleman Company, Fourth Financial Corporation, Kansas Gas and Electric Corporation, Wichita Country Club, Phi Gamma Delta House Corporation. Dick was proud to have served for 23 years on the board of Wesley Hospital as its vice chair.
Dick married Patricia “Pattie” Gillespie in 1954, she died in 2004. He married Sondra Langel, who survives him, in 2005. He is also survived by children, Pete Smith (Glasgow, U.K.) and Sue Smith (Seattle); brother, Jerry Smith (Norman, Okla.); stepchildren, Julia Langel and Everett Langel (Wichita, Kan.); nieces and nephews.
No local services.
Everyone always said Dick Smith was the smartest person in the room. He was a voracious reader and self-taught on everything from ranch management to the Blue Rider movement in German Art. He found professional success in the oil and gas industry, building his own company from the ground up. He later took on land and cattle, eventually owning ranches in Kansas, Wyoming and Florida. He was active in politics, making frequent trips to Washington, D.C., and driving Bob Dole around Wichita when he would visit. An expert angler, many people learned to fly fish with him in Colorado and at his ranch in Wyoming. He loved sailing and driving his motorboat, especially along the coast of Florida. Always curious, he traveled with his family all over the U.S. and Europe.
Sondra Langel was his wife and constant companion for the last 15 years, as they continued to travel, develop their properties and support the Wichita Art Museum and Ulrich Art Museum, among other charities.
Dick once told a reporter that his object was “To make money and be a gentleman about it.” He was committed to doing the right thing and he’ll be remembered as someone who was always considerate, polite and hospitable to everyone. In his later years, staff at Larksfield Place, Regent Park and Comfort Keepers were supporters in catering to his fierce independence while balancing his need for increasing medical care. Special appreciation goes to Blake Blair, his private caregiver for many years.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Wichita Art Museum (1400 W. Museum Blvd., Wichita, Kan. 67203) or the Kansas Oil Museum (383 E. Central Ave., El Dorado, Kan. 67042) are suggested.
Services in care of Downing & Lahey East Mortuary. Share tributes online at: www.dlwichita.com.