Tom Smith, the coal miner, farmer, family-man, businessman who took on the establishment in 2012 to become the Republican U.S. senate candidate, died yesterday, Oct. 17, at his home in Shelocta.
He was 67.
Mr. Smith was a life-long member of Mt. Union Lutheran Church, belonged to the Pennsylvania Coal Association, and served on the Board of the Commonwealth Foundation.
He is survived by his mother, Esther (Brown) Smith, of Indiana; loving wife, Saundra R. “Saundy” (Shea) Smith, whom he married June 8, 1968; son, Domingo Smith and wife, Laura, of Erie; daughters, Malinda Oesterling and husband, Matthew, of Shelocta, Allison Ball and husband, Eric, of Dixonville, Jessica Smith, of Shelocta, Lupita Smith, of Indiana, Daisy Smith, of Shelocta, and Kimberly Brown and husband, Timothy, of Shelocta; grandchildren, Ethan, Abigail, Ezra and Aiden Oesterling, Elijah Smith, Adam and Alexandra Ball, and Logan and Kamden Brown; brothers, Raymond Smith and wife, Nancy, of Allison Park, and Randall Smith and wife, Sandy, of Shelocta; and sister, Karen Aune and husband, Alan of Anoka, MN.
Mr. Smith grew up on a farm in Armstrong County which is still his home today. The Elderton High School Class of ’65 graduate had to forego college to take care of it for his terminally ill father. After he married his high school sweetheart, Saundy, who had gone on to college to become a teacher, he worked the farm in the day and ran heavy machinery in a coal mine in the evenings.
He worked this way for 11 years noting he was a member in good standing with United Mine Workers of America for a bit of that time and that he was going to enjoy their reaction when he started collecting a partial pension from them.
He went into the coal business for himself in the early ’80s. He described the difficulties he had in getting a loan and how he had to mortgage his home to get the capital to rent heavy equipment, which was by the month.
He succeeded and expanded and reached the point where his companies employed 130 people and annually took more than a million tons of coal from the ground.
He sold the companies in 2010.
Mr. Smith, who was a Democrat, for most of his life became involved in politics because he feared for his children’s future due to the policies being pursued by those now running things notably of a fiscal nature.
“Can you imagine a family going for 1,000 days without a budget?” he said at an event in 2012. “I can’t look young people in the eye knowing what my generation was responsible for,” he said.
The family will receive friends from 7-9 PM on Monday, October 19, 2015 and from 2-4 and 7-9 PM on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the Smith Complex, 2340 Smith Rd., Shelocta, PA.
Additional visitation will be from 10 AM until the time of funeral services at 11 AM on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at Mt. Union Lutheran Church, 1051 Girty Rd., Shelocta, with the Pastor Joyce Dix-Weiers officiating.
Interment will follow in Mt. Union Lutheran Cemetery.
Contributions can be made in Tom’s honor to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065 or Mt. Union Lutheran Church, 1051 Girty Rd., Shelocta, PA 15774.
Tom Smith R.I.P.