Remembering Dr. Paul K. Smits, 1941-2021

Family and friends are remembering Dr. Paul Smits and sharing this remembrance with the community:

Longtime West Seattle dentist, Paul Kari Smits, of Bellevue, passed away in Seattle on September 10th from complications of prostate cancer; he fought the disease courageously for ten years.

He was born in 1941 to Paul Aire Smits, DDS, and Ina Kari Smits and grew up in Aberdeen, WA.

He attended the University of Washington and graduated from the University of Washington School of Dentistry in 1966. He served in the U.S. Army at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, for two years and, while there, met his future wife, Joyce (Becker) Smits. He then served two years in the Army Reserve while establishing his private dental practice in West Seattle. Paul cared for his patients for over 45 years, becoming friends with many.

Paul loved spending time outdoors with Joyce and their three sons, especially on the ski slopes. An avid photographer, he documented everything from their travels in the U.S. and around the world, to his grandchildren’s sporting events and celebrations. He was quick to laugh and tell a story and will always be remembered for his warm, friendly personality and dedication to his family and patients.

Paul is loved and will be forever missed by Joyce, his wife for over 50 years; sons Tyler, Ryan, and Kyle, and their wives Lori, Christina, and Jessica; grandchildren Gavin, Audrey, Ella, and Lily, all of whom live in the Seattle area; sister Karen (Morgan Kari) of Woodland Hills, CA; brother- and sister-in-law René and Jan Robert of San Ramon, CA and their family; and his many friends.

His family would like to thank the doctors and many other Virginia Mason caregivers who provided medical care and compassion to Paul.

Donations in memory of Paul may be made to Zero Cancer at or a charity of your choice.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

4 Replies to "Remembering Dr. Paul K. Smits, 1941-2021"

  • Karen September 20, 2021 (9:37 am)

    Dr. Smits was one of the nicest people we’ve met.   After my lifetime of dreading dentists we went to him in about 1970 and never left.   He understood the fear that was instilled at an early age and worked compassionately and patiently with me, even through my bouts of morning sickness.   He had such evident pride in his boys.   And he was a very talented photographer.   His was a life well lived.We are saddened by his passing.

  • Rachelle September 20, 2021 (11:30 am)

    Dr. Paul Smits was a wonderful clinician and a true gentleman.  He was an incredible dentist and a friend. He has handed down his skill, talent, and kindness to his son, Dr. Kyle Smits.  It is a true loss to our community.  My deepest condolences to Kyle and his family. I am so sorry.

  • LB September 20, 2021 (12:05 pm)

    I was so saddened to read this.  Dr. Smits was my dentist years ago, and his kindness and gentleness made every visit a special experience.  His skill as a photographer, evident  in the artwork on the walls of his clinic, lifted my spirits. My heart goes out to his famIly.

  • Bob B September 20, 2021 (6:05 pm)

    There are few exceptional people in this world….Paul, however, was most certainly an exceptional person

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