The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association lost a very dear friend and industry leader with the passing of AJ Smith.

Smith served as Editor of the Association’s official magazine The Cowman, for the past 24 years. Smith passed away moments after the General Business Meeting of the Association’s 57th Annual Convention and Trade Show, in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Smith, who was fighting a valiant battle against cancer collapsed and was rushed to the Midwest City Hospital where he was pronounced dead on Saturday morning, July 25, 2009.

"AJ spent the past three days with his OCA friends and we are deeply saddened by his passing," said Terry Forst, OCA President. "We express our deepest condolences to his wife Debra, his son Aaron, his daughters Christel and Jessi, and the entire Smith family," added Forst.

During Smith’s tenure he developed the Cowman into a nationally recognized cattle producer magazine. He wrote 294 editorials and countless feature stories, took thousands of pictures, planned numerous ranch tours, and traveled the state providing ring service at purebred and commercial cattle sales.

"Anyone in the cattle business knew and admired AJ," said Scott Dewald, OCA Executive Vice President. "He worked tirelessly for our members and our industry. He was deeply dedicated to his family, and he set an example for how we should live our lives. We are going to miss him," added Dewald.

Smith was recognized with numerous honors and awards for his efforts and contributions to the nation’s cattle industry. He received the Animal Science Recognition Award, the Beef Master Appreciation Award, the OSU, Animal Science Graduate of Distinction Award, The Oklahoma Hereford Association Heritage Award, the Oklahoma Youth Expo Show Honoree Award and the Honorary Cattlewoman of the Year Award. He was also inducted into the Oklahoma Angus Hall of Fame and served as President of the Southwest American Livestock Foundation.

A Memorial Service honoring the life and legacy of AJ Smith will be held Thursday, July 30 at 2 p.m. at Express Ranches at Yukon, OK. In lieu of flowers, donations are being made to the Smith Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships for his grandchildren. Checks can be mailed to the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, 2500 Exchange Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73108.

Source: Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association