Truman E. Smith
MIDDLETOWN - Truman E. Smith,

86, of Wolcott Avenue, Middletown, RI, died peacefully Sunday, January 9, 2011 at Newport Hospital, surrounded by his family.
Born in Greenville, South Carolina, he was the son of the late Joel F and Viola (Hopkins) Smith.
He was the husband of the late Evelyn Mary (Ring) Smith. They were married for 62 years and spent their entire life together in Newport and Middletown.
After his discharge from the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II, Mr. Smith went to work for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railway as a Telegrapher in the Providence Division. Among other positions for the “New Haven”, he operated the famous India Point Drawbridge just north of the George Washington Bridge in East Providence. Right up until shortly before his demise, Mr. Smith “kept his hand in” as he copied Morse code almost daily, at his computer keyboard, from an old short wave receiver. He spoke of well-sent Morse code as being “one of the most beautiful and syncopated sounds there was.”
Before going to work for the Navy Department as a technical writer-editor, Mr. Smith operated the Center Lanes bowling establishment and Smith Tire Company in Newport. He also attended classes at New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Salve Regina University. He was a Navy veteran of Word War II wherein, as a member of the staff of Commander Battleships Atlantic Fleet, he served on three different battleships, USS Texas, USS Iowa, and USS Arkansas. He was aboard the Texas at Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion, the Battle of Cherbourg, and the invasion of Southern France. He attained the rating of Chief Radioman and was recalled to 17 months duty during the Korean Conflict.
After retiring from NUWC, Mr. Smith worked at Purvis Systems and Analysis and Technology as a technical writer. He was a self-taught photographer, winning various awards including from the Newport Preservation Society, Narragansett Bay Commission, and the Providence Journal. Mr. Smith was a past member of the Newport Lions Club, Kiwanis, and the Newport Horticultural Society. He was a contributor to Flower and Garden Magazine, both as a writer and photographer, and wrote a gardening column for the former The Newporter, a weekly newspaper.
Mr. Smith was a long-time member of Wanumetonomy Golf and Country Club, bowled on several championship teams, and played fast-pitch softball for the Newport Men’s Shop when it won the city championship in 1950. He also spent a brief time as a radio announcer in the 1950’s as “Tru Smith, the Tune Smith”.
He is survived by his son, Edward Joel Smith and his wife Christie Smith, and his three daughters and their spouses, Nancy Ann Damas and husband Stephen Damas, Paula Ann Conway and husband Daniel Conway, and Claire Lauren Oakley and husband David Oakley. Mr. Smith leaves nine grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. His sister Shirley A. Cline of Simpsonville, South Carolina, and a brother Raymond D. Smith of Greenville, South Carolina also survive him.
He was also the brother of J. Wallace, Douglas, Robert, and Betty Smith, and Julia F. Minton, all of Greenville South Carolina.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church, Spring Street, Newport. Burial at St. Columba Cemetery.
Visiting hours will be held Wednesday, January 12, 2011 from 4-7 p.m. in the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Seamen’s Church Institute, 18 Market Square, Newport, RI 02840.
For more information visit www.onhfh.com

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