Robert E. Smithson Sr., 87, radar instructor who helped establish the first Turkish Navy radar school

Robert E. Smithson Sr.
Robert E. Smithson Sr.

Robert E. Smithson Sr., of Virginia Beach, died Oct. 26, 2015, at the age of 87.

A native of Princess Anne County, he was born May 20, 1928, and was the son of the late J.J. and Thelma Smithson and the foster son of the late Lt. Emery and Sarah Smith. He was a member of Calvary Assembly of God.

He was married for 54 years to the late Alice Ferebee Smithson. He is survived by his daughter, Anne Clifford and her husband Bruce; sons, Robert Smithson Jr. and wife Nancy and James Smithson and wife Joanie; grandchildren, Brandon Clifford, David Clifford, Shelby Thornton, Brent Smithson and Ashley Smithson; three great-grandchildren; two nieces; and two nephews.

He attended Ocean High School, Hargrave Military Academy and Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech.) where he studied electrical engineering. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1946 and received many commendations and medals. In 1950 he was attached to the Turkish Navy as a radar instructor and helped establish the first radar school for the Turkish Navy. He taught in the Navy schools for 12 years and received the award of Instructor of the Year from the Atlantic Fleet Training Command in 1964.

He was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He retired from the Navy in 1965 as a senior chief petty officer and then worked for 20 years at the Naval Safety Center as a computer programmer/analyst. For the past 40 years he was active in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and taught Bible classes at many of the area churches, including Lynnhaven Presbyterian Church, First Assembly of God, Beach Fellowship, Grace Bible Church and Calvary Assembly of God.

A homegoing service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, at Calvary Assembly of God, Providence Road in Virginia Beach with the Rev. Dr. Dan Goff officiating. The burial will follow at 1 p.m. at Rosewood Memorial Park.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home.

To view the full list of Southside Daily obituaries, click here.

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