Frank Smizer

Beloved husband, father and grandfather

Frank Smizer died at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center early on early Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015, with his wife of 58 years, Sarah, at his bedside. He was 82.

He was born on March 7, 1932 in Norfolk, Nebraska to Frank Smizer Sr. and Geneva Smizer. A few days after his birth, his sister Marilu suggested her parents give him back. They didn’t. In 1938, Frank’s father sold his Phillips 66 gas station, bought a Schulte trailer and headed for California. By 1946, the Smizers settled in Fontana where Frank Sr. worked for Kaiser Steel and Frank Jr. attended Chaffey High School. 

While working on the Hungry Horse Dam with his dad one summer, Frank met an architecture student from UC Berkeley who inspired him. He graduated from Berkeley with a degree in architecture in 1955. In 1956, he married Sarah Price, the girl he had met four years earlier on a blind date. After Mr. Smizer finished his two-year enlistment at Killeen, Texas, the couple moved to Riverside where their sons Chris and Matthew were born.

Mr. Smizer became the first Association Architect for Home Savings and Loan, where he worked for 22 years. He oversaw the design and construction of their headquarters in Irwindale and worked closely with Dennis O’Connor, who created many of the HS&L mosaics. Other developments spanned from the San Fernando Valley to Sacramento and Palm Springs. Tired of the commute to Irwindale, the Smizers moved to Claremont.

After leaving HS&L, Mr. Smizer spent the next 20 years of his professional life as a licensed hospital inspector. His clients included San Antonio Hospital and Casa Colina. Upon his retirement, he enjoyed being a “Birdhouse Architect.” Many of his birdhouses were donated to the League of Women Voters and Claremont Heritage for their silent auctions. 

His greatest enjoyment came from being around his children and grandchildren. In June, the Smizers took their granddaughters fishing, and every fall they took their Lazy Daze motorhome to Mammoth Lakes. The 23-inch trout is still in the freezer.

Neighbor and friend Sharron Bentley said, “There was always a twinkle in Frank’s eyes and a sweet smile. His dry sense of humor and amazingly astute comments were followed by a great laugh.” 

In addition to his wife Sarah, Frank leaves his son Matthew of San Francisco, his son and daughter-in-law Christopher and Cynthia Smizer of Bakersfield and grandchildren Claire and Kyle Smizer-Muldoon, Emma Smizer and Miles and Bryn Woollacott.

He is also survived by his niece and her husband, Janet and Robert Curtis, and their children David, Rachel and Jordan Curtis of Redlands and by his nephew and his wife, James and Val Chapman, and their children Audrey, Janae and Garrett Chapman of Denver, Colorado. Frank was preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law, Marilu and Raymond Chapman.

Inurnment will take place at a later date in the Mammoth Lakes area. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the VNA & Hospice of Southern California, 150 W. First St., Suite 270, Claremont CA 91711.



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