Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Mitchell Smith, 91, of Virginia Beach, joined his heavenly father and many loved ones Thursday, May 30, 2019.
Born Jan. 29, 1928, in Huntington, West Virginia, to Mary McCue and Edwin Paul Smith, he moved to Centreville, Mississippi, at a very early age.
After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and continued his education at Hines Jr. College, Rice University, Mississippi State University, and later, after flight training in multi-engine aircraft and helicopters, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School with a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Physics. He always loved to study!
While in helicopter squadron HS-3, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in 1956, he met and married Betty Holland Bell, his loving wife of 61 years.
Prior to marriage, he trained or flew in squadrons in Pensacola, Corpus Christi and Trinidad. Other duty stations included tours in Monterey, California; shipboard on USS Albemarle, a seaplane tender, NAS Annapolis; COMNAVAIR PAC in San Diego, California, Naval Air Syscom HQ in Washington, D.C.; NAVPRO at the Siskorsky Plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut; and NAVAIR Syscom Replant in Norfolk, from which he retired.
After retirement, Tom went directly to ODU to continue taking accounting courses in order to pass the CPA exam. He passed the first time! He transitioned to CPA practice, a second career until his second retirement in 1992.
Tom loved sports, in earlier years fishing at Kitty Hawk with the children and grandchildren, playing golf, tennis, and gardening, the edible type, not flowers. He never missed his children’s baseball games or swim meets, and later, attended as many of his grandchildren’s events as he could.
Wycliffe Presbyterian Church was a central part of Tom’s life, and he served in many capacities as deacon, elder, teacher and clerk of session.
Tom loved his family, friends, church, and was happiest when all were together.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Amy Elizabeth Smith-Scott Spates in May 2018; parents, Mary McCue and Edwin Paul Smith; brother, Edwin Paul Smith Jr.; and sister, Lee Smith Ferguson.
Tom is survived by his devoted wife of 61 years; son, John Edwin Smith, and his wife, Beth; and grandchildren, Ryan Thomas Smith, Taylor Layne Smith and Samantha McKay Smith of Virginia Beach, Allyssa Holland Scott (Matthew Futch) of Charleston, South Carolina, Mitchell Wade Scott (Emmie Huffman) of Kennesaw, Georgia, and Harrison Peter Spates of Canton, Georgia; son-in-law, Richard P. Spates of Canton, Georgia; brother-in-law, John H. Bell Jr. (Gwen) of Elizabeth City; special nieces, Cindy S. Matheny (Mike) of Nashville, Tennessee, Carol S. Peck (Gail) of Las Vegas, Nevada, Cathy Heffernan (Pat), Charlotte S. Jordan of Charlottesville, Christine S. Eure (Brad) of Charlottesville, John H. Bell III (Rosa) of Greenville, North Carolina, Margaret H. Bell of Greensboro, North Carolina; along with extended relatives and friends.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, June 3, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Great Neck Chapel. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Tuesday, June 4, at Wycliffe Presbyterian Church. Burial will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.
We miss you Grandy. We are heartbroken that God took you, but we are glad you are now pain free. You battled so hard and for so long, but now you can finally rest. You were our rock and compass. We will miss your guidance and support, but your words and lessons will always be with us. You were the finest man we will ever know. You have earned your wings. Give Amy a hug. We all love you.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Wycliffe Presbyterian Church.
Share online condolences with the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory.