Delford Michael Smith, founder of Evergreen Helicopters, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 7, 2014. Smith will be remembered as one of the pioneers of the commercial helicopter industry, partnering with longtime friend Quay Jorgensen to form Evergreen Helicopters, Inc. in 1960. He also served as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division during the Korean War.
Del Smith, founder of Evergreen Helicopters.
Evergreen was the first company to use helicopters for spraying fertilizer and herbicides, spreading seeds and fighting forest fires. The company also provided crop dusting, power line installation and medical evacuation services. Smith also took Evergreen into the airline business with the purchase of Johnson Flying Services and the establishment of an an aircraft maintenance center in 1975. Eventually he went on to further diversify Evergreen by creating Evergreen Agricultural Enterprises, Evergreen Sales and Leasing (later Evergreen Trade), Evergreen Aviation and Ground Logistics Enterprises and Evergreen Unmanned Services. Evergreen International Aviation went on to become a worldwide passenger carrier and one of the largest cargo air freight companies in the world.
At its height, Evergreen operated a $1 billion fleet of more than 200 aircraft in over 100 nations.
In lieu of flowers, Smith's family has suggested donations in his name to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (located in McMinnville, Ore.). Online condolences are also welcomed at www.macyandson.com.