Gales Ferry – Thomas Sherman Smith Sr., 85, of 31 Norman Drive, Gales Ferry, and formerly of Morse Avenue, Groton, lifted into Eternal Life on Sept. 29, 2006.
He was born May 3, 1921 in Renova, Pa., the son of William Joseph and Katherine Suzanne (Stiner) Smith. He was proud of his German ancestry. Tom attended Renova High School where he played football.
After school, he worked for the Penn Railroad Co., and when World War II started he joined the Marines. After boot camp he was sent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Two weeks later, he was stuck on mess duty when a buddy told him they were forming a special unit. Tom signed up with a dish towel hanging from his pants and was sent for special training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. When asked what kind of training, he would say “They trained us not to shoot ourselves.”
Following training he was sent to the Asiatic Pacific where he remained for 33 months as a Marine Raider in the 4th Raider Battalion. He achieved the rank of corporal and was recognized as the number one Marine stationed in the Pacific Islands[?]. After the war he completed his enlistment with the United Nations Honor Guard.
He worked various jobs before becoming a journeyman ironworker. Tom married, raised a family, worked hard, divorced, battled war memories, fought a drinking addiction and was a man of integrity and humor. He was a rough man with a great heart.
Tom was a loyal ironworker member of Locals 15 and 424 and retired in 1983.
In addition to his parents he was predeceased by five older brothers, William, Donald, Woodrow, Raymond and Paul; an orphaned cousin who he raised as his own, Robert K. Smith; his former wife, Shirley Kent Smith; and a dear daughter-in-law, Carol Dupuis Smith.
He leaves, to cherish his memory, his five children, Thomas S. Smith Jr. and his wife, Freda, of Sedalia, Mo., William K. Smith and his wife, Betty, of Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., Susan Rowley and her husband, Keith, of Mystic, Becky Eberle and her husband, Todd, of Bremerton, Wash., and Mark A. Smith and his wife, Kim, of Waterford; 10 grandchildren, Sara Galal, Dennis and Sean Holmes, Lindsay Smith, Adam Kalican, Katherine Smith, Keith Rowley Jr., and Kevin, Jim and Rob Halgren; and five great-grandchildren, Rachel, Joshua, Justin, Tyler and Ryan Halgren.
Prior to entering Mary Elizabeth in July 2005, where he was treated with kind caring, Thomas shared 26 special years with his beloved friend, Ruth Popp, of Gales Ferry. She survives along with her sons, Glen and Jim, and Jim’s wife, Cathy, and son, Christopher.
Tom loved to fix cars, tinker with broken watches, read the newspaper, read and tell jokes and sit at Eastern Point Beach and watch the waves join the sunset. He will be missed.
A funeral service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday with visiting hours from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Byles-Groton Memorial Home, 310 Thames St., Groton. Interment will be held on November 2nd at 11 a.m. in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., with full military honors.