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Jerome Wellington SmithMay 28, 1928 ~ July 2, 2017 (age 89)
Commander Jerome Wellington "Jerry" Smith, USN, Ret. passed away Sunday, July 2, 2017. Jerry is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Esther; children, Stephen (Paula), Nicholas (Susan), Elizabeth (Julius), Rebekah, and Matthew (Donna); grandchildren, Kyle, Casey, Kelly, Tom, Andrew, Elisabeth, and Ligia; and great grandsons, Matthew and Jackson.
Jerry was born in Battle Creek, MI and grew up in South Bend, IN. In 1946, Jerry entered the Naval Aviation College Program known as the "Flying Midshipmen." He attended Central State Teachers College, Stevens Point, WI, where he met his future wife, Esther. He began his naval career in 1948, entering flight training at Pensacola, FL. Jerry received his commission in 1950 and served as a fighter pilot for 10 years flying the F4U5N Corsair and F2H Banshee with squadrons VF-13, VF-43, and VF-62. During this time, he served aboard the USS Coral Sea, USS Oriskany, USS Lake Champlain, USS Ticonderoga, and was deployed to Korea in 1953. In 1960, Jerry joined the Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron, piloting the S2F Tracker and commanding a crew of 3. Over the next 9 years he served aboard the USS Yorktown and USS Bennington, and was deployed to Vietnam in 1966, 1967, and 1968. In 1968, he joined the Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Newport, RI, and retired from the Navy in 1971. Jerry's awards include the Air Medal, National Defense Medal, World War II Victory Medal, China Service Medal, European Occupation Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal (Korea), Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Following retirement, Jerry and Esther resided in Bristol, RI, Tucson, AZ, and Asheville, NC.
Jerry was an avid golfer, jazz aficionado, loved reading and gardening, was a Detroit Tigers and NE Patriots fan and community volunteer. He was a devout Christian and very active in his church. Jerry was much loved and will be greatly missed.
A memorial service with full Military Honors will be held Wednesday, August 23 at 2:00 PM at Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC. Friends and family are welcome to attend.
"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any good man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'" President John F. Kennedy, 1 August 1963