Vanoy "Van" and Joan (Dietrich) Smith celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 11, 2013, while at their annual Dietrich reunion in Troutlake, Wash. They were honored earlier by their children at a family gathering.
Van and Joan met at the college dairy farm in College Place, Wash., when Joan taught Van how to feed the calves. They married Aug. 11, 1963, and lived in College Place while Van completed his biology degree at Walla Walla College. Joan taught elementary school at the Stateline and Rogers schools in the Walla Walla Valley, then at Loma Linda Elementary in California. Van graduated from Loma Linda University as a family physician in 1970. After an internship in Spokane, Wash., Van and his young family moved to Hong Kong where Van worked as a doctor at Tsuen Wan Hospital in the New Territories.
Bringing up children in the city was not their dream. They returned to the U.S. in 1974, settling in Burlington, Wash., on a five-acre farm where they could teach their growing family good work ethics and love for God, for the land and nature.
Van joined a medical practice with Joan's cousin, Dean Dietrich. Joan kept up the home front raising six children, managing the garden and caring for a multitude of animals on the farm. Both have been and still are very active in church tasks, particularly in the children's divisions. Joan has led beginners Sabbath School for more than 50 years. Van retired in 2011 and has joined his wife in her passion for gardening and maintaining the farm, but mountain biking still receives most of his enthusiasm.
The Smith family includes Velona "Loni" and Kevin Carambot of Burlington, Wash.; Vaughn and Charlene Smith of Oroville, Calif.; Vicki and Danny Fontoura of Loma Linda, Calif.; Voree and Kami Smith of Burlington; Valden and Ashley Smith of Lynden, Wash.; Vonni Jo and Chris Webb of Burlington; and 12 grandchildren.