Garth William Smith of Vancouver, Washington left his family and friends to a new life in heaven on January 11, 2015 at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer. For all who knew Garth, we believe that God is now enjoying a great cup of organic coffee.
Garth was born December 30, 1946 in Hillsboro, OR. He was the son of Hubert and LaVerna Smith of Mountaindale, OR. He is preceded in death by his mother, father, and brother, Earl Smith, and nephew Steven Smith. He is survived by his wife Gay, daughter Dawnell and son-in-law Jeff Linstead, daughter Misty and son-in-law Byron Myers. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kristopher Munizich, Sean Lemmon and Rebecca Myers, as well as his niece Karen Lowes, nephew David Smith, and cousin Sharon McMahon.
Garth worked for many years in the logging industry but made a life change in 1985 when he went to work for a Portland coffee-roasting company. At Coffee Bean International, Garth found his life’s passion, coffee, as well as his other passion, his wife Gay. In 1990, the visionary founded his own organic coffee-import company, Organic Products Trading Company (OPTCO). Though organic coffee was not readily available for sale in stores, Garth worked for the next 22 years to develop organic coffee projects around the world, helping small coffee producers through training in improved cultivation and coffee processing. He and his wife founded the Café Femenino Foundation, along with a women’s coffee program in 2004. His work with the Café Femenino Foundation and the women coffee producers went even further in his mission to help coffee families by helping women achieve their rights and to change cultural value systems and reduce the abuse of women. Garth and his wife sold their company in 2010 and retired in 2012. He will be remembered for his trailblazing work and for the significant contribution he made to all of the lives of thousands of coffee families around the world that he helped, as well as coffee drinkers who now enjoy the great organic coffees he developed and brought to market.