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Phillip F. Smith

1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Phillip F. Smith

1932 ~ 2017

Master Chief Petty Officer

of the United States Coast Guard (1973 - 1977)

After a lengthy and hard-fought battle with kidney cancer, Phillip "Phil" Francis Smith passed on June 22, 2017. A resident of Seattle for many years, Phil was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 23, 1932. After his father passed when Phil was 12, the family moved to California. Phil graduated from El Monte High School at the age of 16. He attempted to join the U.S. Coast Guard but had to wait, enlisting on September 20, 1949.

Phil's first duty was on board the buoy tender USCGC Rhododendron, based in Seattle. Her small crew serviced the lighthouses (food, supplies, mail) in the San Juan Islands. Phil fondly recalled this time at sea. Additional sea duty included the cutter USCGC Bering Strait operating out of Honolulu (1952-1954); and the icebreaker USCGC Staten Island operating out of Seattle (1968-1969).

It was during his first tour in Seattle Phil met and fell in love with Mary Alice Fannin. They married in 1951. They had three daughters: Terrie, Pennie, and Shaunie. Phil's girls adored him (and still do). When Phil was in uniform, they saw him as second only to Hollywood's "Mister Roberts" starring Henry Fonda. Phil wasn't impressed - it was a Navy movie.

Together Phil and Mary raised a family amidst the challenges of military life which included frequent changes of tour duty location: the 13th CG District office in Seattle; the 17th CG District office in Juneau, AK; Coast Guard Air Station, San Diego; and the 11th CG District office in Long Beach, CA. During these tours, Phil's sense of integrity, quick wit, and sense of humor endeared him to many.

On August 1, 1973 Phil became the 2nd Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard. His lasting and ongoing legacy modernized the career path for senior enlisted men to better serve the interests of the enlisted crew. Phil retired from the Coast Guard in 1977. Retirement was short-lived. He joined forces with former Coast Guard attorney Henry Haugen at Haugen and Thoreen admiralty law office.

Phil finally retired for good in the early 1980s to spend more time with Mary and the first of their grandchildren. Phil's grandchildren taught him how to be a grandpa. When he moved on to great-grandfather status, Phil's great-grandchildren taught him to be a "G-Pa!"

After 42 years of marriage, Mary passed in 1993. Phil's strength and tender care of Mary during her illness remains an inspiration to the family.

Phil is predeceased by his parents Phillip and Anne (McGowan); brother-in-law John O'Neill, brother Robert Mertz, grandson Phillip Hardwick, and son-in-law William Hardwick.

In his later years, Phil reconnected with long-time Coast Guard friend, Evelyn Oliver. Together they enjoyed traveling, family, and each other's company.

Phil is survived by daughters: Terrie (Jay Gose), Pennie Hardwick; Shaunie (Robert Hay);

grandchildren Amber (Edde Kanai) and Maribeth Hardwick; Travis Hay (Jennifer), Levi and Margaret Gose; great-grandchildren Gavin Roy (Travis and Jennifer Hay); Jaymee Alice (Margaret Gose and Brandon Hazard); sisters Audrey O'Neill and Jenny (Eddie Juarez).

Phillip Francis Smith will be greatly missed by the many other family members, his friends and fellow Coasties, all the better for having shared in his life.

A memorial by invitation is being planned.

MCPO-CG Phil Smith will be buried at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18, at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 SE 240th Street,

Kent, WA 98042-4868.

All who wish to come are invited.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that monetary gifts be made in Phil's name to The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance: http://www.cgmahq.org Guestbook at washelli.com
Published in The Seattle Times from July 9 to July 12, 2017
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