This year the Caliente Homecoming grand marshal is none other than 95-year-old Lincoln County surveyor, violin playing Lenard Smith.
Lenard was born to Ralph Comfort Smith and Mabel Emma Anderson November 3, 1925, at their home at 1551 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA. He was only 11 years old when he received an award for completing his first-year violin course. He was a faithful member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop One of Castro Valley, CA. Lenard was honored with a Future Farmers of America award at his Willits Union High School graduation ceremony June 3, 1943.
After graduating, he joined the California State Militia and was honorably discharged when he enlisted in the Navy, serving as an aviation radioman in SB dive-bombers during WWII. At the end of his tour and before he was discharged, he started school in Logan, UT, and met and married Ardyth Green of Logan, UT. The Smiths became proud parents of six children, Kevin, Loren, Karen, Donette, Cristie and Gina.
Lenard eventually graduated from Utah State Agricultural College. Only four months before his discharge from the Navy, Lenard was called back during the Korean War to serve as a communications technician in Japan. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in November 1951.
The family moved from Logan to Elko, where Lenard served with the Soil Conservation Service, and from there to Wells, then to Las Vegas and finally, Caliente, where Lenard was instrumental in building the Caliente Soil Conservation building. Lenard, Ardyth and the rest of their family are faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Lenard became the local land surveyor in Lincoln County and continued in that profession until his retirement this past year. Ardyth passed away in November 2005. Lenard served as a Lincoln County county commissioner for two terms from 1985 to 1992, and it is fitting that he be honored Memorial Day Weekend as grand marshal for the 2021 parade and barbecue.