SPENCER H. SMITH JR. was born on October 6, 1914 in Camden, NJ to Catherine and Spencer H. Smith Sr. The Smiths were living at 753 Walnut Street in South Camden when the 1914 City Directory was compiled. His father had 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, Earl, Marion, Clara, Spencer Jr., Walter, and Robert. Later that year in 1920 Spencer H. Smith Sr. was assigned to Engine Company Number 10 at 9th Street and Morgan Boulevard in the Fairview section of Camden. By 1924 Spencer Smith Sr. had moved his family to 3022 North Constitution Road in the then new Yorkship Village neighborhood of Camden. Fire Department records from 1931 show Spencer Smth Sr. and family residing at 1190 Congress Road in Fairview.
Spencer H. Smith Jr. joined the Camden Fire Department on October 14, 1942. He would serve for 29 years before retiring on April 1, 1971. His father, Spencer H. Smith Sr. applied for his pension in July of 1950, a mandatory retirement at 65 law having been passed covering police and firemen. The elder Smith's last day on the fire department was August 31, 1950, when he retired along with Deputy Chief Clarence T. Madden Sr., Firemen John B. "Shorty" Prucella, and Fireman Frank L'Esperance.
Spencer Smith Jr.'s brother Earl, a Navy veteran of World War II would join the Camden Fire Department around 1950. Sadly, Earl Smith would suffer a fatal heart attack after returning from a working fire, making the Ultimate Sacrifice in April of 1968.
During his time in with the Camden Fire Department, Spencer Smith Jr. was instrumental, along with Ernest Tartaglia, in putting together a union to represent Camden's fire fighters, the Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association of Camden. He served two terms as President of the State Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association. He also served as a member of the New Jersey State Police and Fire Pension Commission for 52 years, and was chairperson as late as 2004. He also was a Labor Liaison Officer for the City of Camden for 25 years, and was elected to the City of Camden's Board of Education, where he served one term.
Socially, Spencer Smith Jr. was a member of the Independent Citizens Athletic Club (I.C.A.C.) of Fairview, a member of the Police and Fire Retired Men's Club of South Jersey and the AARP.
Spencer Smith Jr. was married to Marie Stewart. They had one child, Spencer H. Smith III, who served with the Camden Police Department from 1962 to 1995, retiring as a detective. Spencer Smith Jr.'s nephew, Larry Smith, is, as of the summer of 2008, a member of the Camden Fire Department- as of this writing the Spencer Smith family has served the City of Camden without interruption for over 94 years.
Spencer H. Smith Jr., last a resident of Oaklyn NJ, died at the age of 91 on March 5, 2005. He was predeceased by his wife Marie, and son Spencer Smith III, who had passed in June of the previous year. He was survived by his grandson, Spencer H. Smith IV.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1958|
|Camden Courier-Post - March 8, 2005|
Spencer H., Jr.
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SMITH, SPENCER H., III
On June 2, 2004, of Cherry Hill, NJ. Age 62 years.
Beloved husband of Betty Anne Smith (nee Baptiste). Dear father of Spencer H., IV. Loving son of Spencer H. and Marie Smith, Jr.
Mr. Smith retired in 1995 after 33 years of service as a detective with the Camden City Police Department. He was a member of Camden City Lodge #1 F.O.P. and Camden City Lodge #35 P.B.A. Mr. Smith was an avid country western music fan and a proud member of the Georges Jones Fan Club.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend His Memorial Service on Sun. 8PM at the FOSTER-WARNE FUNERAL HOME, 250 White Horse Pike, Audubon, NJ. Friends may call Sun. 6-8PM.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or The American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbert Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
Publication date: 6/05/04
Publication date: 6/04/04