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Thomas E. Smith passed away Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 in Pasadena, California. 

Born July 16, 1931 in Monrovia, Calif. to Ada and Thomas J. “TJ” Smith, he was their only child, and he was the first grandchild of Belle and Thomas J. Smith, co-founder of Smith's Drug Store, an early business in Liberal.

In 1936, the family moved to Pasadena, Calif., where he lived most of his life. 

Tom attended Pasadena City College, where he was President Associated Men’s Students and a member of the Order of Mask and Dagger Honor Society. 

In 1950, he enlisted with the Army and served in the Korean War, receiving the Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal with one bronze star, Army Occupation Medal/Japan, Republic of Korea War Service Medal, National Defense Medal, United Nations Service Medal and Presidential Unit Citation. 

After returning home, Tom enrolled at the University of Southern California, where he earned his degree in Public Administration from the School of Policy, Planning and Development in 1956. He was active in many campus activities including Vice President of his senior class and the Sigma Chi Fraternity, serving as chapter president and awarded their Exemplar Sig Award. 

His professional career focused on civic, governmental and community affairs, and he served in senior management positions with Cal Fed Bankcorp, Ford Motor Company, Kaiser Industries and Northrop Grumman Corporation. He also served in senior development positions at USC, initially as Marshall School of Business’ first Director of Development and later as Associate Director of Athletics where he originated their annual “Salute to Troy” event. 

Tom cherished the many friendships he developed through his involvement with organizations in the community. He was an Honorary Director of the Tournament of Roses and active in the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick where he was President in 1979. He was a Knight in the Order of Malta; life member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity; life member of Cardinal and Gold and member of Skull and Dagger, USC; life member of the Navy League of the United States; life member of the Pasadena Elks Lodge; and a member of the Pasadena Optimist Club. 

His past affiliations included Advisory Board of the California Museum Foundation (past president); National Advisory Board - U.S. Department of Justice; Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA); Board of Regents, Loyola Marymount University; Los Angeles Rotary Club, Paul Harris Fellow; Catholic Charities Board Member and membership in the Jonathan Club and Wilshire Country Club. 

Survived by his son Mike (Mary Ann) and grandchildren Sean and Cinnia. He is also survived by nieces, nephews and many cousins throughout Kansas, the Midwest and Canada. 

He was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis Gorman Smith and eldest son Thomas James Smith, III.

• A memorial mass to celebrate his life will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 at 4 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1501 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena. 

He will be buried at the family gravesite in Liberal. 

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his honor to The Class of 1980 Scholarship, c/o Loyola High School, 1901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006 or to the Thomas J. and Mary Belle Smith Scholarship, Southwestern College, Winfield, KS c/o Brenneman Funeral Home, 1212 W. Second Street, Liberal, KS 67901.

Paid obituary 




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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