May 14, 1926 - December 19, 2013 A Life of Curiosity and Passion Thomas Francis Smith, Jr. ('Dad' and 'Tomas') was born in Seattle, Washington. At the age of 1, his family moved to Hollywood, California. His father, Thomas Sr., and his mother, Dorothy, were voice coaches for actors and opera singers. He attended Bancoft Middle School and Hollywood High School (Class of Summer '44). He served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947 and was discharged as Staff Sergeant. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Southern California (1951) and Masters degree in Library Science from the University of California of Los Angeles (1953). He was also in the doctoral program at UCLA. Thomas served as reference librarian and educator for the Los Angeles Community College District (Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley college and Los Angeles City College), as well as a librarian for downtown L.A. central branch the Los Angeles Public Library, from 1953 to 1987. He was a frequent book reviewer for the Library Journal and made appearances on public television to comment on developments in American fiction and publishing. He also was a lecturer on Japanese literature and the 'Noh' theater. Thomas pursued many unique intellectual and artistic interests, including the ballet, classical guitar, reading and writing classical Greek and practicing calligraphy. He was also an avid gardener, swimmer and bicyclist. Thomas is survived by his wife of 50 years, Yolanda, and by children David, Candida, Mark (Garcia), Priscilla (Thompson), Denise (Connell), Matthew, Yvette (Harris) and Theresa (Martin). He was pre-deceased by sons Ronald (Garcia) and Tommy (Smith). He is also survived by twenty grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. All of the surviving family members emulate Thomas in living life with curiosity and passion. Funeral services will take place this Saturday, December 28, at 2:30 pm at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Old North Church.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 28, 2013