Merle Smith
Cmdr. Merle Smith was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who was the first Black graduate of the Coast Guard Academy.

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Published by Ridgway Record on Jun. 23, 2021.
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37 Entries
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Dominic Parsons
September 23, 2021
Thank you so much for your service sir. May you sleep in peace always.
T M
Friend
August 27, 2021
Such great accomplishments made by Mr Smith. A lot of things that the family can look back on with pride. May God continue to comfort you at this difficult time.
Mae
August 10, 2021
CDR Merle Smith was one of a kind. I remember meeting him during a particularly hard time for me in the Coast Guard and he motivated me to push through it. As a brother who matriculated through the Academy I can only imagine what it was like for him. I greatly appreciate the example and legacy he set, and the pathway he blazed that led to me being able to graduate in 1997. May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding comfort his family and all those who are grieving this loss. Rest in peace Brother, We Have The Watch!
Samuel Johnson
Friend
July 8, 2021
I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Merle Smith. I was a classmate of Merle, and played high school football with him. Although we were only together for his senior year, Merle became an integral part of our team. It was easy to see he was destined for bigger things. Once again my sincere condolences.
Richard Wilkinson
Classmate
July 4, 2021
You will be remembered for what you did for African Americans.
Stephanie Schell
July 2, 2021
I spent one day with Merle. I have never forgotten it. I am so sorry for your loss.
Karen Foster
July 2, 2021
Sincere condolences to the Smith Family. May Almighty God in the Heavens comfort your hearts with peace and loving kindness as you cope with this precious loss in your lives. Mr. Smith was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who was the first Black graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He will be remembered and missed, but his contributions not forgotten. May family, friends and extended family cherish his memories.
Tony
July 2, 2021
Alishia
June 30, 2021
To the Smith Family, you have my deepest sympathy, I Lisa Clarke, had the pleasure of caring for Mr.Smith for two days at the VA in West Haven, Connecticut
June 30, 2021
My condolences.
June 29, 2021
My condolences go out to the family of Merle Smith. So sorry for your loss.
LeeRoy
June 29, 2021
You paved the way for a lot of other African Americans in the service.
Stephanie Schell
June 28, 2021
Deeply saddened fir the loss of your loved one. Please accept my sincere condolences.
JE Sowell
Other
June 27, 2021
Rest in Peace Merle.
George Beckwith
Coworker
June 27, 2021
Fair winds and following seas Merle.
Frank Titus
Classmate
June 26, 2021
RIP Merle.
Frank Titus
Other
June 26, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Dominic Parsons
June 25, 2021
Can you please tell me how to send a condolence card, as I don't know the family address? Thank you.
senior chief william antonowicz
Work
June 25, 2021
In my Coast Guard career, I had interfaced with CDR Smith on a few occasions. Before doing so, I had expected to be looked down on as a subordinate, which I actually was to a USCG officer. I wasn't. After talking to CDR Merle Smith, it was obvious to me he was genuinely interested in what I had to say. All this stuff about first black USCG academy graduate, first black this or first black that had no bearing on my interaction with CDR Smith, and I truly believe he was above all that. I truly believe he was a genuine person who treated everyone else like another American citizen, irregardless of race or the color of one's skin, and am truly sorry to hear of his passing. In my mind, he will always be someone that I look up to.
Senior Chief Bill Antonowicz
Work
June 25, 2021
I Was station on the Minnetonka when he came aboard and again in Vietnam and again in 1969. He was a great ship mate. Kennith J. Spoor GMCS, USCG Ret.
Kennith J. Spoor
Military
June 25, 2021
Merle's physical presence will be greatly missed in this world. Such a gentle giant of trailblazing accomplishments, and immensely kind and calm personality. Absolute love to you Merle ! And to Lynda, Danielle, MJ, and Chelsea - - my heart is with you and all his family and friends so strongly grieving right now.
Marilyn O'Neil
June 25, 2021
May you have God's Grace and love Philippians 4:6-7!
Janelle Eloisa Almendis
June 24, 2021
Im so sorry to hear about Cmdr. Smith. My husband was in the Coast Guard as well. May you continue to get the comfort that you need now and always.
Jenee
June 24, 2021
Great person and leader, served with him on CGC Point Mast in Vietnam 69. Sad to hear of his passing my sincere condolences to his family. R.I.P. Commander
valdemar rocha
Work
June 24, 2021
God is a God of all Comfort and he will Comfort the family's...My heartfelt condolences...
June 24, 2021
May you be in The Book Of Life.
MHG Sr
June 24, 2021
Such an amazing achievement, sincere condolences to the Smith family and friends, may you all find strength and comfort from God in this very difficult time of your loss.
June 24, 2021
What am amazing legacy. Sincere sympathies to the Smith family, so very sorry for your loss. May God be with all of you to give you comfort and strength as you endure this most difficult time of your loss.
June 24, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Will Hargrove
June 24, 2021
What an exception man, many accomplishments. My sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Smith. May God strengthen you during this difficult time.
June 24, 2021
Lynda, I am so very sorry. I found Merle's obits today on the internet - so many of them - so many paying tribute to the exceptional person that he was. I remember Merle as a kind, gentle man who always greeted people with a warm smile. Please know you are in my prayers.
Linda Westervelt
Friend
June 23, 2021
Scott Chamberland
June 23, 2021
Lynda and family, my deepest sympathy on the loss of Merle. He was such a kind and gentle man.
Cindy Youngclaus
Friend
June 23, 2021
First and foremost I would like to offer my condolences to CDR Smith's family. I would want them to know as a fellow Coast Guard Veteran and as a civilian I would like to applaud CDR Smith's accomplishments and his life first and foremost as that of a man for that is what is important and what everyone should see. The fact that he was a Black man is secondary he did not achieve his place in life because he was black. No one gave him anything because he was black he earned everything because he rose to being the best man for the job. May he rest in peace.
Richard Loy
June 23, 2021
The Buckley AFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for CDR Smith's distinguished service to our country in the Coast Guard. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley AFB at 720-847-6693. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

Steve Young
Lt Col, USAF, Ret
Director, Buckley SFB RAO
Steve Young
June 23, 2021
Fair winds and following seas sailor.
"Boatswain... Standby to pipe the side... Shipmate's going Ashore..."

Thank you Cmdr. for your service to this nation. Career U.S. Coast Guard. A trail blazer, and good and decent man.
Harry Simpson
June 23, 2021
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