Obituary, Russell Leonard Smith

Russell Leonard Smith, Capt. USN, Ret. 84 died at Kent County Hospital on February 13, 2007 after a period of failing health. He was born in Whitman, Ma. October 22, 1922. He was the son of the late Arthur L. Smith and Delia May (Rose) Smith. His wife, Moree (Bosscher) Smith predeceased him on August 2004.
Russell graduated from West Springfield High School in Ma. and Brown University. He enlisted in the US Navy in Sept. 1942 as a Naval Aviation Cadet and became a Torpedo Bomber Pilot. He served in the Pacific during WWII and was a survivor of the bombing of the USS Franklin in the Sea of Japan, receiving the Asiatic/Pacific Medal with Battle Star for his service there. He also was the recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal, among others. While serving on another ship, he aided in the recovery of several astronauts including the very first Mercury recovery of Alan Shephard. He was transferred to the USS Kersarge where he also aided in the pickup of Col. Gordon Cooper and Capt. Conrad. He later served two tours of duty at the Pentagon, and also became the Commanding Officer of NAS South Weymouth from which he retired after 30 years in the US Navy. He was a life member of TROA (Military Officer) and DeMolay.
Both of his brothers, Robert Smith and Arthur Smith predeceased him, He leaves his sisters- in-law Dorothy Smith of Agawam, MA and Margery Smith of Ludlow, Ma., He also leaves a niece, Darlene Spencer of Agawam,. and nephews, Robert R. Smith, of Easthampton, Ma, Donald A. Smith of Zelienople, Pa., Russell Smith of Gales Ferry, Ct, Bryan Smith of Nashua, NH, Alan Smith of Silverdale, WA, and Christopher Smith of Ludlow, Ma. His grand niece Stephanie Rocheford of Venice, Fla, grandnephews Eric Smith of Monson, Ma. and Matthew Smith of Md and his wife’s nephew Steven Gabeler of Sudbury, Ma., as well as many other nieces and nephews of his late wife’s. He will be sadly missed by all, most especially by his best friends Tina and Carl Bishop and Doris Soder of Warwick, who spent many enjoyable hours on the golf course and in each others company over the years. This feeling is also shared by Rob Gatta and family of N.Y., who were his next door neighbors for many years, and Pam and Bob Murphy, also next door neighbors.
Funeral services at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home will be Friday Feb. 23 at 12 noon with Pastor Brian Wood, from the Asbury United Methodist Church officiate. Burial with Military Honors will be at the R.I. Veteran’s Cemetery, Exeter. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name to the American Cancer Society or to the charity of ones choice will be appreciated. Information and condolences at

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