EARL A. SMITH SR. was born on April 28, 1921. One of at least 9 children born to Catherine and Spencer H. Smith Sr. The elder Smith had a long and distinguished career as a Camden Fire Fighter beginning in 1914. Spencer F. Smith Sr. joined the Camden Fire Department on May 1, 1914, and was assigned to the Number 1 Engine Company at 407-409 Pine Street in South Camden. At the time of the 1920 census, Spencer and Catherine Smith were renting a home at 1017 Atlantic Avenue in Camden. By this time, the family included eight children, Addie, Annie, Carl, Marion, Clara, Spencer Jr., Walter, and Robert. Later that year Spencer Smith Sr. was assigned to Engine Company Number 10 at 9th Street and Morgan Boulevard in the Fairview section of Camden. The family would move to Fairview soon afterwards.
After serving with the United States Navy during World War II, Earl Smith joined the Camden Fire Department around 1950, about the same time that his father retired, having met the then-new mandatory retirement age of 65. Brother Spencer Smith Jr. had joined the force a few years earlier, he would retire after serving 29 years. Sadly, this would not be the case for Earl Smith.
Earl Smith had last lived at 240 Eutaw Avenue in East Camden. He was survived by his wife Fayetta, sons Earl A. Jr., Carl W., Warren H., Larry F., and Wayne E.; and two daughters, Fayetta M. and Karen S. Smith.
Earl Smith's older brother Spencer H. Smith Jr. retired from the Camden Fire Department after 29 years service. After working for the City of Camden for many years in the Department of Weights and Measures, Earl Smith's son Larry F. Smith would join the Camden Fire Department. Nephew Spencer Smith III served with the Camden Police Department for 33 years before retiring in 1995. As of this writing, in January of 2016, the Smith family has been serving Camden continuously for 112 consecutive years.
FIRE EQUIPMENT HAS CHANGED in Camden but the Smith family carries on into the third generation. Spencer Haines Smith III (left) and his father Spencer H. Smith Jr., examine picture if the old coal-burner the latter once drove. Young Smith was sworn in today as a member of the city fire bureau. The late Spencer H. Smith Sr. joined the department in 1914.
April 8, 1968
Camden Fire Fighters Fallen in the Line of Duty
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