Mt Vernon today mourned the unexpected death of a civic minded
citizen and able public official, Martin W. Smith, 68, postmaster for 10 years
and former, veteran secretary of the Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
A heart condition with which he had suffered for some time and
which caused him to faint and fall in his home at 621 Locust street last Sunday proved fatal at Friday as he sat in his chair in his
home. For the last several months his health had not permitted him to give
full-time attention to his official duties. His death came less than four
months following the sudden demise of his brother, Harry Smith, custodian of
the Posey county court house, who passed away July 2.
Since the death of his wife, the former Olivia Gerth,
in 1950, which ended a devoted marriage, Mr. Smith had continued to maintain
his long-established residence on Locust street with the aid of a faithful housekeeper,
Mrs. Margaret Kueber, who was with him when he died.
Grief born in the long illness and death of his wife sapped his vitality and
his decline in health had removed him in recent years from the swift tempo of
civic progress to which he had contributed a lifetime of service as a community
The body is at the Short Funeral Home and will remain there
through the funeral service set for Monday in the Short chapel.
Dr Frank Greer, minister of the FirstMethodistChurch, of which he was a member, will be the
officiating clergyman. Burial will be in Bellfountaine
Surviving are a brother , Horace C Smith, Mt. Vernon, a sister,
Mrs. N. N. Williams, Mt. Vernon, two nephews, Frank M. Smith, Scarsdale, NY;
and N. N. Williams, Mt. Vernon, and two nieces, Mrs. Ray Sufana,
Indianapolis and Mrs. Ralph Broyles, Fort Wayne.
The deceased had spent his entire life in Mt.Vernon and his devotion to his home community
was intense. He was born in the Smith family home of 73 years at 328 East Ninth
street, a son of Frank Smith, a native of Germany who came to America at the
age of nine years old.
Following graduation from Mt. Vernon High School in 1904 he
entered the commercial field of a sign-painter and art craftsman, vocations in
which he established a wide reputation without formal training but with an
abundance of talent and which he pursued until he was named acting Mt. Vernon
postmaster in 1942. A few months later -- in 1943-- he became regular
postmaster. For many years he and several close friends, Oscar D. Keck, the
late Lloyd W. Dixon and Samuel E. Davis, operated their varied separate business
in one location designated the Craft Shop. His association with Mr. Keck, an
electrical contractor, in joint occupancy of a Main street location continued until he became
He was one of the organizers of the Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce
and for 25 years served as its virtually unpaid secretary. For an even longer
period of time he was the Mt.Vernon correspondent of The Evansville Courier.
The postmastership was the only public
office to which he ever aspired but he was an ardent Democratic worker over a
period of years. He was a follower of sports in general and despite a slightly
crippled leg resulting from an injury in a fall as a boy he was proficient in
amateur tennis and boxing.
His only fraternal affiliation was the Mt. Vernon Lodge of Elks of
which he had been a member for almost 44 years. Devoted to his friends,
intelligent and possessed of genial personality, he occupied a high niche in
local public esteem.
DEPARTMENT ADVISED: Acting Postmaster to be appointed.
Miss Jamia G. Bailey, assistant
postmaster of the Mt.Vernon post office under Postmaster Martin W.
Smith, dispatched a wire to the Bureau of Operation, Post Office Department, Washington, D.C. immediately
after being advised of Postmaster Smith's death late yesterday.
As assistant postmaster, Miss Bailey will be in charge of the
local office until the Post Office Department names an acting postmaster to
fill the vacancy occasioned by Mr. Smith's death.