Santa Clarita lost a jewel. Clyde Smyth was one of my heroes. I had the pleasure of working with Clyde on many boards, committees and projects we created together during the 22 years since we moved to Santa Clarita.
Clyde was all that’s good about Santa Clarita. He would always give a straight answer, often flavored with his wry sense of humor. He didn’t just talk the talk and he didn’t just walk the walk. Clyde led the walk. There will be many articles about Clyde’s accomplishments. I won’t list them here.
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I first met Clyde when Jeri and I purchased KHTS radio (then KBET) and moved to this marvelous valley in 1990. Clyde was Superintendent of our William S. Hart School District. He showed me the path on how business and educators could work together. His vision, guidance and advice have been the foundation for many projects KHTS has launched with our public schools.
Clyde won his City Council seat while Santa Clarita was recovering from the earthquake. We worked closely on many behind the scenes projects. Clyde, along with then mayor George Pederson became the inspiration for the Disaster Coalition which we founded a decade later and continue to serve our valley as an additional emergency resource.
Clyde was there to cheer me on and assist when I became SCV Man of the Year in 2008 and previously when my wife Jeri won SCV Woman of the Year in 2005. He had already been through the drill when he won that prestigious award in 1992.
Clyde was a mentor for my son, Ryan, when he first became interested in attending West Point, back when he was a freshman at Valencia High School. Clyde took him out to breakfast and shared a road map of what he’d need to do. I believe Clyde was equally proud when Ryan graduated toward the top of his West Point class in 2010. I also suspect Ryan wasn’t the only young man Clyde mentored. That’s the kind of guy Clyde was, always there to inspire and assist, always pushing us to raise the bar and always on the front of the front lines walking the walk.
Santa Clarita now has one less treasure anchoring our Valley. Our hearts and love go out to his wife Sue and sons Cameron, Colin and their families.
Clyde, we will miss you.