Dec. 1957 – July 2022
Gregory Lee Smart, AKA: Pippy, 64, of Turlock California, passed away all too soon from medical complications on July 9, 2022, although his perfect, donated lungs sustained him until the very end.
He was born in Kansas City, Missouri but moved to Olathe, Kansas as a child. He spent his teenage years making so many wonderful memories with friends that he stayed in close contact with throughout his life. One of his fondest memories to share was his bicycle trip to the Ozarks at the age of 15 with four of his very best friends! They pedaled 400 miles over a period of 10 days, with no adult supervision and collect calls home each night to check in with their parents.
He joined the Air Force after high school but when his father passed away unexpectedly after 2 years of service, he was honorably discharged. He moved to California in his early twenties to follow the love of his life and best friend, Melinda Smart. They married in 1979 and had a daughter, Jessica, whom was his pride and joy. Gregg always loved traveling and, together with Melinda and Jessica, they were always taking road trips across the country. Gregg had an indescribable love for the water and was happiest when he was boating with his family. Gregg and his family spent most of their time living in Southern California until Jessica moved to Turlock for nursing school. Jessica met and married her husband, Daniel in Turlock, so Gregg and Melinda moved to Turlock as well to be closer to them.
In 2013, Gregg got a second lease on life after being blessed with a double lung transplant. He had been diagnosed years earlier with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic condition that resulted in lung disease. It made breathing so difficult for him that simple tasks, such as getting dressed, would leave him completely out of breath. After receiving his transplant, he was finally able to breathe with ease and enjoy more activities with his family. Jessica and Daniel have four children, whom were Gregg’s entire world. He lived every day of his life for the kiddos and was the best Pippy anyone could have ever imagined! Weeks before he passed away, he took all four kids by himself on a 3,000-mile road trip. They visited family in Arizona, saw the Grand Canyon, went to Las Vegas, and rented a boat on Lake Havasu, one of his all-time favorite places! That trip with his grandkids absolutely filled his heart and we know that he left this earth feeling complete peace after having such an amazing time with them.
Gregg was such a friendly, loving, generous, and definitely sarcastic man! He would start a conversation with anyone in the room, and surely wasn’t shy when it came to sharing his opinions about this crazy world! He loved classic rock and was determined to make sure his grandkids listened to it as often as possible. In fact, he taught them every word of “We Will Rock You,” all the way down to the guitar solo, which they proudly play on their air guitar every time they hear it! Gregg seemed to have the answers to any questions asked and would say “I don’t know everything, but I sure do know a little about a lot!” We are going to miss our daily conversations with him and all the advice he had to give (there was always plenty of it)!
Gregg is preceded in death by his father, Gordon Lee Smart, and his sweet grandbaby, Baby Sam, who we know he is holding so tight since meeting her.
Gregg is survived by his ex-wife, Melinda (married for 30 years but remained best friends and shared 45 years loving life together); daughter Jessica and her husband Daniel, their children Madison, Logan, Amelia, and Ellie; brother, Jim; sisters Stacey and Darcy; and mother, Barbara.
There will be a celebration of life for him on August 6th at 3pm in Turlock, California as well as one at 5pm in Olathe, Kansas at Austin’s (the north location) for his lifelong friends-he’d be so thrilled knowing we are all celebrating him together by sharing some of his crazy stories while listening to classic rock!
Please consider donating to the Alpha-1 foundation www.alpha1.org/donate Enter his name in the “tribute” box.
Donate Life! Please register to be an organ donor www.organdonor.gov/sign-up