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Gone West

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Murray Smith      1930-2019

Murray Smith, founder, publisher and president of Professional Pilot magazine, passed away on December 25, 2019 at the age of 89. From an early age, Murray knew he wanted to fly. He also enjoyed drawing, painting and writing. He began taking flying lessons in Waukegan IL at age 14 while working at the airport.

He pursued a degree in journalism at the University of Illinois and, after a stint at the Leo Burnett Ad Agency, he enlisted in the US Navy, where he wrote for different government organizations as a technical journalist. However, he had plans to publish a somewhat different aviation magazine with a people approach and a wider variety of editorial content.

Murray combined his passion for aviation, writing and sketching, and, in January of 1967, he published the first issue of Professional Pilot magazine with more than just a corporate jet on the front cover. The picture showed the flight department’s chief pilot with the company’s vice president reviewing plans for the trip next to the airplane. Since then, almost all Pro Pilot covers feature the company’s president, pilot, planes and products.

“Looking ahead to the future, I have a well-trained staff and some very good contributors,” Murray stated when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Pro Pilot. “We continue to innovate, but the basic people approach stays the same.”

Murray is survived by his wife Eleni, his sons David and Alex, and a granddaughter.

Godspeed, Murray. You will always be remembered.


Funeral Service:
Friday Jan 3, 2020. 1:00 pm
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb St NW
Washington DC 20016

Burial will take place immediately after service at:
King David Memorial Gardens
7482 Lee Highway
Falls Church VA 22042

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