George Medford Smith, 91, of Decatur, IN, passed away on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at Adams Memorial Hospital. He was born in Ft. Wayne, IN, on January 24, 1930, the first of the six children of the late Lowell J. and Rowena B. (Merriman) Smith. On June 20, 1953, he married Shirley L. Berling in the auditorium of St. Joseph Catholic School, as the present St. Mary’s was being built.
He worked at Pumphrey Jewelry Store during high school, where he became skilled in jewelry, watch, and clock repair and engraving. In 1950, Med began his 31- year military career with the Air National Guard, where he was the base photographer for Baer Field Air Base. He took part in the Korean War, the Berlin Crisis, and the Vietnam War. He was eventually promoted to Major, where he served as the Intelligence Staff Officer for the 122nd Fighter Wing, a position he held until he retired at the age of 51. After his time in the Air Force, he did go on to receive his private pilots license in 1981.
In 1965, he was hired on as an engineer at Duo Marine in Decatur to design and build new model boats for production. In 1970, he and 5 other Duo employees started their own boat company in Decatur’s Industrial Park and named it Signa Marine. Signa was later purchased by Fuqua Corp and the partners were named the managing group for Thunderbird Manufacturing. In 1985, he left Thunderbird and took a position in Chicago as the head of the Boat Certification Department at the National Marine Manufactures Association, he held this position until his retirement at the age of 65.
Med was a parishioner of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, where he served on the finance committee and sang in the St. Mary’s Choir. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Msgr. J.J. Seimetz Council 864, where he also was a member of the 4th Degree Assembly 257 and served as a Past Faithful Navigator.
He was active in the community and was a Past President of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, the Library Board, and the Adams County Historical Society Museum. He was a board member of the Parks and Recreation Department and also was an Adams County Election Judge for 26 years.
Med enjoyed photography, boating, woodworking, and flying. He enjoyed building houses for Habit for Humanity and sets for the Bellmont High School Theater.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Shirley L. Smith of Decatur; 7 children, Yvonne M. (Terry) Eichorst, Kristine L. (Chris) Steck, Eric G. (Delynn Combs) Smith, Stuart E. (Lori Luginbill) Smith, Phillip L. (Kellie Bauman) Smith, Charlotte A. (Steve) Hartmann, and Charmaine A. (John) Hostetler; 15 grandchildren, Jason Eichorst, Bridget Hodge, Brandon Steck, Megan (Jared) Parrish, Joshua (Whitney) Smith, Macy Smith, Brean (Taylor) Gage, Kyle (Annalissa) Smith, Mitchell Hartmann, Mackenzie Hartmann, Madison Hartmann, Tanner Hostetler, Brady Hostetler, Mikayla Hostetler, and Austin Hostetler; 7 great grandchildren, Cora Hodge, Elliot Hodge, Parker Parrish, Greyson Parrish, Lynlee Parrish, Selah Smith, and Anndyn Gage; 2 step grandchildren, Jonathan (Jessica) Fincher and Tarran (Stormy) Clark; 3 step great grandchildren, Jenner Fincher, Jentry Fincher, and Bodi Clark; a brother, Bill Smith; 2 sisters, Anita Stahley and Kathleen Gordon.
He was preceded in death by 2 brothers, Don Smith and Byford Smith.
Visitation will be from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at Haggard-Sefton-Hirschy & Zelt Funeral Home, with a reciting of the Holy Rosary at 1:30 p.m. K of C 4th Degree Honor Guard will post from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, in St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, with visitation 1 hour prior in the St. Mary’s Parish Hall from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Father Stephen Colchin will be presiding and burial will immediately follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Military Graveside Rites will be conducted by the American Legion Post 43 Color Guard.
Memorials may be made to the A.C.C.F. Medford and Shirley Smith Scholarship Fund.
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