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OCT 1952   (27 Oct 1952)


Death Comes At His Home; Rites will be Monday


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 5:30 p.m. 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 leader.


The body is at the Short Funeral Home and will remain there through the funeral service set for 2:30 p.m. Monday in the Short chapel.


Dr Frank Greer, minister of the First Methodist Church, of which he was a member, will be the officiating clergyman. Burial will be in Bellfountaine cemetery.


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 postmaster.


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.



Originally submitted by Betty Sellers