Thomas W. Smith was one of the few who could say he was born, lived and died on Vashon Island. His mother noted in his baby book that Doc McMurray was too busy to attend his birth, but three days later he stopped by and declared mother and son to be doing just fine.
Tom passed away peacefully on May 31 after a decade-long battle with countless issues that kept his extended medical care team on their toes.
Born in a small house on Cove Road in 1933, he grew up on the island and knew every inch of it like the back of his hand. He was driving by the age of 12, and the scrapes that his older brothers got him into are the stuff of family lore. He graduated from Vashon High School in 1951 and attended Olympic College in Bremerton.
In 1956 he married Margery McGar of Seattle. He enlisted in the Army and the young couple was sent overseas to Tokyo, Japan. After two years of adventure they returned to Seattle and he resumed his 30-year career with Washington State Ferries. He began as a deck hand, then a ticket taker, a ticket seller and eventually landed in the administrative office before retiring in 1984.
Tom and Marge moved back to Vashon in 1973 to raise their two children in the rural family lifestyle of the island. Tom enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing and every season brought new trips to different parts of the state. He also had a lifelong passion for all things mechanical – notably cars and airplanes.
After his retirement from the ferries, he was the able assistant to Marge as she began her pet-supply business. For years he was the chief delivery driver and supply manager at Pandora’s Box.
Never at a loss for a good story, he could entertain with the best. His inexhaustible supply of stories, peppered with plenty of colorful vocabulary, will be remembered by many.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Margery Smith; daughter, Cheryl Pruett (Chris); son, Thomas W. Smith (Alannah); and 3 grandchildren, Corrine, Chester and Clyde Pruett. He was preceded in death by his parents Clyde “Bud” Smith and Florence Passig Smith, and his two brothers Clyde and Bill.
There will be a celebration of his life later this summer, where we can all share our favorite stories and remembrances.
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