Photo: In 1924 the Committee of California Postmasters met in San Jose. L-R: George Hughes, San Bruno; J.E. Cawgill, San Carlos; Charles A. French, Brentwood, and R. Guy Smith, Moss Beach.
1970: Longtime Coastside Postmaster Suicide
Raymond Guy Smith, 82, well-known former postmaster of Moss Beach, was found dead in an upstairs bedroom at his home on California Street in Moss Beach. The Sheriff’s Office declared his death a suicide.
Known as Guy to everyone since coming to Moss Beach in 1912, Smith was postmaster for 40 years until 1958, also doing business in real estate and insurance.
R. Guy, a native of Charleston, Arkansas, was listed in “Who’s Who in California.
His body was discovered by his nephew, Elbert Starbuck of Chatsworth. Starbuck had been caring for his uncle who was dying of cancer.
Starbuck told authorities that Smith, a bachelor, didn’t want anyone living with him so Starbuck was sleeping in a camper outside the home. Starbuck was only allowed in the house to prepare his uncle’s meals.
Deputy Timothy McHenry said Smith had shot himself in the chest with a .32 calibre Colt automatic pistol which he kept under a pillow to protect himself.
When he retired in 1958 at age 70, R. Guy Smith was the oldest California postmaster. He began his career in 1918, the third in his family. His grandfather had been postmaster in Boreman, West Viriginia in 1871 and his father postmaster in Dahoma, Arkansas in the 1890s.
Two years before he retired, R. Guy was named “Postmaster of the Year” in California. In 1927 he was the first postmaster ever to fly to a national postmaster’s convention, taking with him an inch-thick bundle of air mail.
He was interned at Skylawn Memorial Park.