L. Douglas Smoot


L. Douglas Smoot, our wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on January 13, 2020. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Marian Bird Smoot. He is survived by his sister, Beth Johnson, four daughters, Analee (Scott) Folster, LaCinda (John) Lewis, Michelle (Nathan) Hyde, and Mindy (Conor) Robbins, and his 20 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. Doug’s faith framed his life’s choices and experiences. He was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and loved serving the members in the Oak Hills area as a Bishop and Stake President, and then an Area Seventy in the Fifth Quorum for the Utah South Area.

Doug was born in Provo, Utah on July 26, 1934 to Douglas and Jennie Smoot. His parents moved the family to the neighboring town of Springville with his two older sisters, Norma (Bills) and Beth (Johnson). An individual with a keen intellect and wisdom to match, Doug was known for his dedication, determination, and diligence in all endeavors. He met Marian in 3rd grade; they dated while attending Springville High, were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on September 15, 1953, and began their family and pursued their education.

Doug earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from BYU while playing tennis and basketball for the “Y.” He continued on to earn a master’s degree and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1958 and 1960, respectively. Doug began his Chemical Engineering career at BYU and then moved his family to Redlands, California where he worked for Lockheed Propulsion Company and taught part-time at the California Institute of Technology. The family eventually moved back to Provo, Utah where Doug became the Chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department and then served as the Dean of Engineering and Technology for 17 years prior to his retirement. He also greatly enjoyed teaching religion classes at BYU. Collaboration with stellar students and wonderful colleagues brought Doug great enjoyment.

While at BYU, he founded and directed ACERC—one of the world’s largest academic research centers to advance combustion engineering technology. Since 1968, Doug served as Principal Investigator or Project Director on 40 grants and contracts totaling over 20 million dollars from 22 industrial and governmental agencies. He was given the distinguished Homer H. Lowry Award, the International ASME Percy Nichols Award, the Governor’s Medal for Science & Technology, and Distinguished Faculty and Lecturer and the Presidential Award from BYU.

Doug was internationally recognized as one of the premier authorities in the field of Combustion Engineering and clean burning fuels. He authored over 200 technical articles and four books on fossil fuels, coal gasification, and clean burning fuels. Doug is a patent holder and co-founded Combustion Resources, a private research and consulting company. He also served an appointed term for US Senate’s office of Technology Assessment.

Doug’s community service included a term on the Governor’s Science Advisory Council, many years on Provo City’s Economic Development Board, Provo’s Energy Department Board, Tuacahn’s Board of Directors, and America’s Freedom Festival Advisory Board. He has written or co-authored books on Abraham O. Smoot, the History of BYU Chemical Engineering, and the preservation of the historic BY Academy building titled, The Miracle at Academy Square. In 1995, Doug assumed the leadership of a team of passionate citizens and government officials to preserve the BY Academy—a building that was constructed with the funds of his great-grandfather A.O. Smoot. It is now the Provo City Library at Academy Square.

This giant of a father, with Marian at his side, placed their family as their highest priority. He was loved by four-generations of family members. He was known for his faith, enthusiasm, kindness, determination, generosity, humor, love, optimism, and support of their many endeavors. Though he wore many hats, his cowboy hat may have been his favorite. He loved his six horses, his Mapleton farmland, and Olson Ranch rides with his friends and family. Doug taught by word and deed and left a legacy of love and learning for generations to come.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at the Oak Hills Stake Center, 925 East North Temple Drive, Provo, Utah. Friends may visit with the family at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Monday, January 20 from 6-8:00 p.m. and at the church Tuesday from 9-10:30 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be expressed at www.bergmortuary.com.