Earl A. Smith Sr.


Earl A. Smith Sr., born on April 28, 1921, was one of at least nine children born to Catherine and Spencer H. Smith Sr. The elder Smith had a lengthy and distinguished career as a Camden Firefighter, starting in 1914. Spencer F. Smith Sr. joined the Camden Fire Department on May 1, 1914, assigned to the number 1 engine company at 407-409 Pine Street in South Camden. In the 1920 census, Spencer and Catherine Smith, with a family of eight children, were residing at 1017 Atlantic Avenue in Camden. Spencer Smith Sr. was later assigned to Engine Company Number 10 at 9th Street and Morgan Boulevard in the Fairview section of Camden, prompting the family’s move to Fairview.

After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Earl Smith joined the Camden Fire Department around 1950, coinciding with his father’s retirement upon reaching the mandatory age of 65. Brother Spencer Smith Jr. had joined the force a few years earlier and would retire after 29 years of service. Unfortunately, this would not be the case for Earl Smith.

On April 7, 1968, Firefighter Earl A. Smith suffered a fatal heart attack at the Engine Company 3 station house at 1813 Ferry Avenue after his unit had returned from extinguishing a fire.

Earl Smith last resided at 240 Eutaw Avenue in East Camden. He left behind his wife Fayetta, sons Earl A. Jr., Carl W., Warren H., Larry F., and Wayne E., along with two daughters, Fayetta M. and Karen S. Smith.

Earl Smith’s older brother, Spencer H. Smith Jr., retired from the Camden Fire Department after 29 years of service. After many years working for the City of Camden in the Department of Weights and Measures, Earl Smith’s son Larry F. Smith joined the Camden Fire Department. Nephew Spencer Smith III served with the Camden Police Department for 33 years before retiring in 1995. As of January 2016, the Smith family has been serving Camden continuously for 112 consecutive years.


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