On Friday, December 4, 2015, and after a 5 year valiant battle with cancer, Don Smith, Jr., Middle Paxton Township, answered his final call when the Lord summoned him to heaven to account for his actions here on earth. (Romans 14:22)
Born January 15, 1958 in Harrisburg, he was the son of the late Donald W. and Nancy S. (Shunk) Smith and was a 1975 graduate of Central Dauphin East High School. He furthered his studies, receiving his Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Alvernia College and his Master’s degree from Temple University.
Surviving is his compassionate, caring and loving wife of 35 years, Sonnie (Kuntz) Smith; two sons, Bob (and his wife, Carrie) Smith, Middle Paxton Township and AJ (and his wife, Hannah) Smith, Camp Hill; 2 younger sisters, Vivian Stover, Bethlehem and Tammy (and her husband, Ross) Schell, Colonial Park; and his beloved grandchildren, Logan and Lillian and expected grandson, Reid. He is also survived by many in-laws, nieces and nephews, and numerous friends and co-workers, all of whom will miss him greatly.
Don had a long public service career as both a paid and volunteer responder. In junior high, he started ride-a-longs on the ambulance with his neighbor and mentor, Bob McAfee. On his 16th birthday he officially joined Reliance Hose Company of Rutherford and so began his over 40 year history of volunteer service. Don was one of the first three EMTs at Rutherford Fire Company. He later moved to Paxtang Fire Company where he served as an officer and later obtained life membership. Don served as a per diem EMT at Susquehanna Township EMS and was a past Chief and Life Member of the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Ambulance Association. He spent many evenings training local fire and EMS agencies and had a passion for preparing for larger scale events.
While he was an 18 year old college student, Chief Robert Ruddy of the Paxtang Police Department saw something in him and hired him as a part-time police officer. Don remained at Paxtang while finishing his undergraduate degree and then completed the 29th Municipal Police Class at the Hershey PSP Academy. Upon graduation, he was hired full time by Susquehanna Township Police Department where he had an exemplary career specializing in vehicle code and accident investigation. Don taught pre-service and in-service cases for many years for both HACC and IUP and served on curriculum committees for MPEOTC.
After retiring from police work, he made a move to education and taught high school at Dauphin County Technical School, where he served as a Dean of Students, Assistant Principal and later District Administrator.
In 2008, Don decided to merge his careers and joined the Center of Safe Schools, where his expertise was utilized by scores of school districts across Pennsylvania to improve safety plans and response procedures.
Throughout his careers, Don received many awards and commendations and was even known to return a few. But his greatest appreciation was for the cards and phone calls personally thanking him for his service.
His life will be celebrated at 12:00 pm Saturday, December 12, 2015 at his church, Linglestown Church of God, 5834 Linglestown Road, Linglestown, 17112 with Rev. Barry Stahl, his pastor, officiating. The family will be receiving friends from 9:00 am until 11:30 am Saturday at the church. Burial will be in Miller’s Cemetery, Middle Paxton Township.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests that contributions in his memory be made to Homeland Hospice, 2300 Vartan Way, Suite 115, Harrisburg, 17110 or to Paxtang Fire Company, 3423 Derry Street, Harrisburg, 17111.
Don’s family gratefully acknowledges the outstanding care received from Andrews and Patel, especially the East Shore office oncology nurses. A special thanks to good friend Jim Fisher, who was Don’s “chemo buddy” and driver over the past years.
Kimmel Funeral Home, Harrisburg, is handling arrangements.