The accomplishments of Wayne Ogden Smith could easily fill an entire book. He has sandwiched a lot of experiences between his roots on a “small truck farm (minus the truck) in rural Kentucky,” as he puts it, to his life now in Naples. A U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, he became a weapons test pilot at Eglin Air Force Base, then flew 90 F-4 Phantom jet fighter missions over North Vietnam and Laos. He was shot down in January 1968 and was “a guest at the Hilton Hanoi,” surviving five years and two months as a P.O.W. His military honors include two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals, and the Purple Heart. The decorated veteran went on to a highly successful business career, serving as CEO of MidAmerican Energy, president and COO of B.F. Goodrich Co., and senior executive of Air Products & Chemicals Inc. Now retired but not one to sit still, he works with multiple veterans’ groups and on initiatives of the Naples Spirit of ’45; speaks to at-risk kids in New Beginnings; and seeks ways to connect the legacy of “our greatest generation to our latest generation.”
|“I moved to Naples for all the golf courses, so I could play 365 days a year. Now it’s more about the people I’ve come to know. There are wonderfully talented and caring people in our community.”|
Personal style: Affable, casual, compassionate.
Words to live by: “For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.” (Author unknown.) Take time to feel the blessing of living in a free society.
Best way to spend a free day: Reading, hanging out with my wife, Lois Bolin, talking with the WW II guys or my sister—mostly talking, as you can see.
Can’t live without: Laughter; we all need to not take ourselves so seriously. Take our mission in life seriously, but not ourselves.
Fun fact: I sang on the Ed Sullivan Show.
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Photography by Vanessa Rogers
Shot on location at Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club, Naples.
Clothing provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, Naples.
Styling by Ryan Stanley and Rachel Galante, Saks Fifth Avenue.
Grooming by Philip Douglas, Luisette Damiani, and Heather Price of Philip Douglas, Naples