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Smith, Sr., Earl Thomas

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February 27, 1936 - October 30, 2020

Smith, Sr., Earl Thomas

Tom Smith died unexpectedly in his sleep of cardiac arrest on October 30, 2020, in Dallas, Texas.  He was born February 27, 1936, in Japan, to Marjorie Isabelle Young and Earl Ross Smith.  For eight years, his father, an industrial engineer, had been the supervisor at the Japanese plant that made wooden cabinets for the RCA Victor Talking Machines company.  Marjorie and Earl had a wonderful life there but had to return to the United States when conditions deteriorated just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

They settled in Haddonfield, NJ, where Tom grew up and graduated from Haddonfield High School in 1953.  He then graduated from Lehigh University, and over the years he maintained and treasured the friendships he made there as a Phi Delt.  He moved to Philadelphia, started his career on a home delivery milk truck with Harbison’s Dairy, and while his sales career advanced, he served ten years as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.  In 1968, Tom and his family moved to Dallas on a corporate transfer where he held various marketing positions with Pillsbury, Sunshine, and the Southland Corporation before retiring as a financial consultant in 1996.

Tom met the light of his life, Barbara, in Dallas, and they married in 1974 to enjoy 46 years of life together with family celebrations and travel.  Tom was a founder of the Lehigh University Alumni Club of Dallas/Fort Worth, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) since he was 22 years old, Past President of the Dallas Chapter of the SAR, and an enthusiastic Color Guard Member.  He was also a member of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati and Past President of the Texas Lone Star Association of the Cincinnati.  He volunteered weekly with North Dallas Shared Miniseries and enjoyed friendships there, at Brookhaven Country Club, at the Town North Y, and with his poker group.  Always the gentleman, Tom’s positive view of life and sense of humor drew many friends into his life—friends he had sorely missed seeing these past months.  Tom will be lovingly remembered by all who knew him, and his legacy will live on through his family and many friends.

Tom was a lifelong Episcopalian (from his mother and grandfather, Rev. Dr. Annesley T. Young, England) and an active member of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.  He is survived by his wife, Barbara Burnett Smith; his daughter Sara Smith Gelman and grandson Mathew Thomas Gelman; his son, Earl Thomas Smith, Junior, and wife Shana; and his grandson Justin David Rushing, wife Faryn, and great-granddaughter, Layla.  He is predeceased by his parents, the mother of his children, Elizabeth Cook Sands, and his daughter, Susan Eleanor Smith.  Due to current circumstances, there will be a private service at Saint Michael Chapel, and Tom will be interred beside his parents and daughter at Sparkman Hillcrest.  In lieu of flowers, if you wish, memorials may be made in Tom’s name to North Dallas Shared Ministries (, Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church (, or a charity of your choice.

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Chuck Chapman

November 12, 2020 3:03PM

Long ago when I met Sue and she introduced me to her family I knew Tom to always be willing to discuss almost anything very candidly and intelligently and never failing to have a great sense of humor. He had a great ability to show that with the slight smile and look in his eyes he often had in our conversations. I always looked forward to seeing him at SMAA services, he would always be there. I miss him very much.

Mary Lenamon Gibson

November 08, 2020 11:13AM

Barbara, I am so sorry to read today of Tom’s passing. I didn’t know Tom well, but I worked with “the light of his life” Barbara Burnett for many years at Scott Foresman Publishing Company in Dallas. I have lost contact with Barbara, but I am so glad to hear of the happy 46 year marriage to Tom. I am so sorry for your loss. Mary Lenamon Gibson

Sandy Lauder

November 06, 2020 12:10PM

Very sorry to hear about Tom's passing. My late wife and I always enjoyed talking to Tom at the Lehigh/Lafayette telecasts. I'm a Lafayette alumni and Tom was always gracious when Lehigh beat us in football.