Services for Edward Wayne Smith, 88 years young, former Fire Chief of Gray Army Air Field, will be Tuesday Sep 18th at 10:30 am at the First United Methodist Church of Killeen, with Pastor Alan McGrath officiating. Mr. Smith died the 14th in a Temple Hospital. Visitation will be Monday at Harper Talasek Funeral Home from 5 - 7 pm. He was the son of Viola and John Smith born in Miami Fl. and attended School in Winter Haven, Fl. He joined the Army at age 16 although he claimed to be 17.
He will be buried in the Killeen Cemetery in the part that was moved from Sugarloaf when Camp Hood was being built. Graves were purchased for the Kinsey Family along with other empty plots .Ed's Mother in law Alline Sanderford said " I knew Mama would be pleased to have her family ancestors The Kinsey's nearby in Killeen". She went to the meeting to ensure the family would all be together in the same area in the Killeen Cemetery.
Ed turned 16 in 1948 . He knew from the working hard in fishing lines laid out in Lake Eloise and the daily fish catch that he must prepare himself for the future. So, getting mechanic training in the Army seemed a good choice and in early 1947 he told the Army he was 17 not 16 so that he could get an education His Mechanic school was in Ga. and that certificate qualified him as a Private and a train trip to Killeen, Texas in the middle of the night then a ride on 2.5 ton open backed truck. He was stationed at the124th Ord. Company B at Camp Hood. This was between the enlistment time after WWII and the Korea War it was for 18 months.
He met some other GI's and learned 2nd Armored Division needed a band member that could play a big drum and big horn. Receiving the temporary transfer a GI said go to church with me tonight and meet some pretty girls. Ed even wore a borrowed set of clothes belonging to a friend because his hadn't got washed yet after the trip to Texas. He met his future wife that night the love of his life, Mary Lou Sanderford.
Killeen was home except for a short time in Winter Haven Fla after he was discharged. The couple's first home was bought in Castle Heights (Killeen).
Ed worked many jobs getting established he was a salesman for many places, Furniture Mart, Fergus Ford, Harry's Eclectic, Killeen Paint and Paper, and other temporary jobs on Fort Hood including one for three months at the fire department in Killeen and this helped him get his permanent fireman job at Ft. Hood. He also worked for both the Yellow and Red Cab companies.
Once on a trip to Dallas for the Cab company he heard about a job in Colorado working in the Mines at Climax, Colorado . His family lived in company housing in nearby Timberline. It was not long before he moved from being a train loader to an engineer. The entire family was ready to come home after 4 years to a house on Dean Street bought with the GI Bill.
Trips began to see kin folks in Fl; when the children came along, Betty Ann Gregory, Daniel Wayne Smith, Robert David Smith, Bonnie Lou Quinn and Dennis Edward Smith. Usually it was the first two weeks school was out. Soon Ed was hired by the Fort Hood Fire Department and that led to a permanent fireman job and later before retirement he became the Fire Chief at Gray Army Airfield.
Ed bought and manged rental houses and apartments.
He rehabbed a yellow bus that made a Rocky Mt Natl Park trip plus trips to Nashville TN. They also made a trip to Washington DC to see his cousins Betty and Peggy Rainwater who worked for President Clinton. Ed also rehabbed an ugly army van into a modern RV.
The couple also enjoyed a Cruise to Alaska and flew to Hawaii.
Edward Smith is survived by his wife, children and lots of cousins, special sister in law's Helen Sanderford and June Sanderford, sister Katherine O' Berry of Winter Haven Fl; 10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.