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Edward Allen Smith Sr., 84, Great Mills

Edward Allen Smith Sr., 84, of Great Mills died March 31, 2012, at Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital, Leonardtown.

Born June 15, 1927, in Washington, D.C., he was the son of the late Rebecca Alice Mayhew and the late Edward Smith.

He was raised by William Bunton and Ella “Hawkins” Thompson of Valley Lee, from the age of 3. He attended St. Peter Claver Elementary School, Jarboesville ES and graduated from Cardinal Gibbons Institute in 1944 at the age of 16. He attended the Washington Conservatory of Music. He served in the U.S. Navy.

He married his next-door neighbor Thelma Luvenia Gladden on Sept. 3, 1960. They had four children, Clarissa Jean Smith, Edward Allen Jr., Robert Leon and John Michael Smith.

Mr. Smith was a Junior 4-H Club leader. He played baseball with the Piney Point Eagles. He was past exalted ruler of Lodge 1120 in Valley Lee. He was instrumental in assisting of the forming of Little League insurance coverage under Official Little League Baseball of Boys’ Town USA in St. Mary’s County. “The Firsts” is the Hall of Fame established by the Institute for Human Growth and Development Inc. to heighten the community’s awareness of the historical contributions of its pioneers. He was inducted in 2004. He and Fred Talbert were instrumental in breaking racial barriers that resulted in African-Americans being allowed to play baseball in St. Mary’s County. He coached and managed the Little and Pony leagues of Valley Lee.

He loved to dance, make merriment and enjoy life. He was an avid collector of caps; enjoyed making his own cassette tapes of gospel and R&B; playing cards, checkers, dominoes, playing pool; doing word search puzzles and watching TV game shows.

His work ethic proved exemplary beginning work at age 13. He worked in lawn maintenance, as a plumber and was hired in October 1960 at Patuxent River Naval Air Station as an electrical mechanic. He retired after 20 years of service.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Thelma L. Smith; sons, Edward A. Jr. and Robert L. Smith; brother, Robert “Bobby” Tyler; sister, Evelyn Young; godchild, Robert E. Morgan Jr.; and special niece and nephew, Shirley Mary Frances Saxon-Barnes and Joseph Emerick Barnes.

He is survived by his daughter, Clarissa Jean Smith of Great Mills; son, John Michael and his wife, Shirley Rosetta Smith of Lexington Park; nine grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; brother Charles Tyler and his wife, Evelena of Washington, D.C.; sisters-in-law, Bertha Mae Dukes and her husband, William Dukes of Washington, D.C., and Ella Mae Tyler of North Carolina; the Thompson family; godchildren, Delores M. Barnes and Gray Eric L. Barnes; and many other relatives.

Visitation was held April 7 at St. Mary’s UAME Church, Valley Lee. Burial took place at Bethesda United Methodist Church Cemetery, Valley.

Pallbearers were Robert E Morgan Sr., Howard Young, Nathaniel Lawrence, James “Jimmy” Thompson, Clarence B. Briscoe Jr. and Steven D Maddox

Arrangements were handled by Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Home, Mechanicsville.