Malcolm Travis Smith, 97, of Tuscumbia, passed away Aug. 1 at home. Visitation will be noon-2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4, at Colbert Memorial Chapel. The service will follow at 2 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow at Tri-Cities Memorial Gardens in Florence, with graveside military honors.
The Guest Book is expired.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 74 years, Grace Kiel Smith; parents, Elbert and Elizabeth Smith; brother, Montie Smith; and sister, Opal Kiel.
Survivors include his children, Larry Smith (Joy) Concord, Ohio, and Joyce Clark, Tuscumbia; grandchildren, Edee (Gary) McAbee, Richlands, North Carolina, and Emily Potter (Phil) Madison, Ohio; great-grandchildren, Ryan McAbee, Molly McAbee, Phillip Potter and Hannah Potter; sister, Bernice Glaze.
Malcolm served in World War II enlisting in the Navy in 1942 at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California, as Ship's Service Barber. He went aboard the USS Fillmore, APA83, an amphibious transport ship, in April 1944, at San Francisco. His billet was that of ship's barber and his battle station was that of gunner on a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun. The ship left San Francisco for Pearl Harbor and continued to Samoa, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Espirito Santo, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, New Guinea and Hollandia. The Fillmore continued to New Hebrides, Philippines, Marianas Islands and Wake Island. On their second trip, July 1945, the Fillmore left for Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Mog-Mog, Ulithi, Guam, Tinian, Saipan and the Philippines. Between Guamand and the Philippines they were in the same area where the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed. It had been carrying components for the atomic bomb, but fortunately, had unloaded them at Tinian prior to being sunk. Upon arriving in the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines they joined about 1,500 other ships in preparation for the invasion of Japan. The Fillmore helped carry some of the American Occupation Troops to the city of Aomori in Japan.
After being discharged from the Navy in 1945, he and his wife continued to live in San Diego until 1950 and then returned to Alabama. He worked locally at Diamond Alkali Chemicals for 26 years, retiring in 1981.
He was a member of First Baptist Church Colbert Heights in Tuscumbia since 1951 and served as a deacon since 1957, as well as being church treasurer for 21 years (1958-1979).
Malcolm was a charter member of the World War II Memorial Museum in New Orleans and World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.; a member of the American Legion Post 31, Tuscumbia and its Color Guard/Drill Team playing the bugle, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4919, Sheffield.
He enjoyed gardening, playing the fiddle, and leather work - making belts for craft shows and was known for his CB handle, "The Beltman."
Malcolm was a loving, kind and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and will be missed.
A special thanks to his caregivers, Doris Garner and Don Southall.
Colbert Memorial Chapel
700 Highway 43 South Tuscumbia, AL 35674
Published in Florence Times Daily on Aug. 3, 2014