Ore. aviation entrepreneur Del Smith dies at 84

Delford Smith brought the Spruce Goose to Oregon

Howard Hughes' wooden flying boat the "Spruce Goose," is towed by a tugboat from its hangar in Long Beach, Calif., in this Oct. 29, 1980 file photo. (AP Photo)
Howard Hughes' wooden flying boat the "Spruce Goose," is towed by a tugboat from its hangar in Long Beach, Calif., in this Oct. 29, 1980 file photo. (AP Photo)

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Delford Smith, an aviation entrepreneur who in the 1990s had Howard Hughes’ gigantic “Spruce Goose” airplane trucked in pieces to Oregon to be the centerpiece of an aviation museum, has died at age 84.

A couple walks past the Spruce Goose fuselage, under cover since arriving in 1992, in McMinville, Ore., March 21, 1997. (AP Photo/John Gress)
A couple walks past the Spruce Goose fuselage, under cover since arriving in 1992, in McMinville, Ore., March 21, 1997. (AP Photo/John Gress)

A spokesman for Macy and Son Funeral Directors in McMinnville confirms that Smith died Friday at his home.

No cause of death was disclosed.

In 1960, Smith founded Evergreen International Aviation, which in its glory days flew cargo and charter flights around the world for the U.S. military and other clients.

Facing major business challenges and lawsuits from creditors, Smith closed the airline last year.

The Yamhill Valley News-Register initially reported Smith’s death.

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