Michael Smithers died peacefully on April 30 at the age of 58, from cancer. He was at home, surrounded by his family and close friends.
Mike’s greatest joy in life was to be with his family. He was a devoted husband of 28 years to Joseph Delaney, and a loving father to Claire Delaney Smithers and Ryan Delaney Smithers.
People who knew Mike would recognize his presence from afar whenever they heard his contagious and bellowing laughter. He was a man who found the greatest pleasure in helping others and being of service. He always wanted to do the right thing and strived to make the world a better place.
Mike was born in Encino, California, and was raised in Newbury Park. He graduated from Newbury Park High School and attended San Diego State University. He was the son of Mary Woodlief and Ronald Smithers. His mother Mary raised him to be very independent, instilling in her son a strong sense of ethics. She taught all her children to cook at an early age, and she expected Michael to be able to complete his share of the chores at the end of each week. He always said he learned his strong work ethic from his hard-working mother. His first job was washing dishes at 6 a.m. on weekends at Du-Par’s Restaurant in Thousand Oaks, California. From an early age, he showed his desire to be of service through his work as an altar boy in the local church.
To support himself while getting his bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University, he worked full-time driving school buses for the college band, handicapped and local school children. Immediately after college, Mike became a successful commercial insurance broker, showing his acumen for business. His goal was always to be an entrepreneur and to choose an industry that aligned with his philosophical beliefs of doing the right thing. This goal led him to build, own and run the Goddard School in Ladera Ranch, California. For the past 17 years, his passion for always doing what was best for the Goddard kids guided every decision he made. This type of leadership and zest for life allowed the Ladera Ranch school to achieve the Circle of Excellence Honor within the National Goddard franchise.
Mike loved spending time out on his boat or floating in the warm water of Lake Mohave and Lake Mead. He was an amazing water skier and a very patient instructor with a hearty, loving laugh.
Mike is survived by his spouse, Joseph, and his children, Claire and Ryan. He is also survived by his mother, Mary Woodlief, and his stepfather, Steve Woodlief. He will be greatly missed by his siblings Dan Smithers, Carol Childers, Patti Ringo and Peter Lavaty. He has many loving brothers- and sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces and nephews who live throughout the country.
He will be deeply missed and remembered as someone larger than life…with his big smile and saying, “It is what it is.”