Raymond F. Smith

Raymond F Smith - 1933-06-09

Sergeant Raymond F. Smith, born Lucius Raymond Smith on June 6, 1895, led a remarkable life marked by his contributions to the military, professional boxing, civic engagements, and charitable endeavors.

Enlisting in the United States Army at a young age of 17, Sergeant Ray Smith served in Mexico as part of General Pershing’s expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa. His military service continued during World War I, where he demonstrated bravery and commitment. Wounded in action while serving in France, he received recognition for his valor with the Croix de Guerre with palms, personally presented by Field Marshal Henri Petain.

Before the war, Sergeant Ray Smith showcased his skills in the boxing ring, earning the title of heavyweight champion of the American Expeditionary Force. Following his return to civilian life, he resumed his career in professional boxing, engaging in notable matches against the likes of Gene Tunney, Leo Houck, Tommy Gibbons, Bill "KO" Brennan, and Battling Levinsky for the Light Heavyweight Title.

Transitioning to the role of a referee, Sergeant Ray Smith maintained a reputation for fairness and good judgment in the boxing world. Beyond his achievements in sports, he became a multifaceted contributor to society. Settling in Camden, NJ, he resided at 31 North 25th Street and later at 212 North 27th Street during the 1920s and early 1930s. In addition to his roles as a radio announcer and sportswriter, he actively participated in civic activities.

Sergeant Ray Smith served as the president of the Elks Crippled Children’s Committee for over two decades, displaying a deep commitment to charitable causes. His leadership extended to veterans’ organizations, holding positions such as a three-time commander of the August F. Walters Chapter No. 4 of the Disabled American Veterans and a member of the Raymond C. Thoirs Post 47 of the American Legion.

Engaging in local politics, he ran for Republican committeeman from the Twelfth Ward in 1926, supported by Jacob Schiller, although he was unsuccessful in defeating Clay W. Reesman.

While working for the Courier-Post, Sergeant Ray Smith faced adversity when he was injured in a car accident on June 8, 1933, while en route to cover the Max Baer vs. Max Schmeling fight at Yankee Stadium.

In May 1934, he entered the political arena again, seeking the Republican nomination for the New Jersey Assembly from Camden, aligning himself with Albert S. Woodruff in the factional strife within the Republican Party.

Raymond Smith’s personal life included marriage to Mabel, and the couple had a son, Charles Augustus Bodine Smith. Tragically, Mabel F. Smith passed away in 1944, and their son, Private Charles A.B. Smith, lost his life while serving in Algeria later that year.

After World War II, Sergeant Ray Smith moved to the Erial section of Gloucester Township, NJ, where he established and operated the Charles A. B. Smith Home for Crippled Children. Despite facing physical challenges resulting from a 1964 automobile accident, he continued his commitment to charitable work. As of December 1967, he still resided in Erial. In his later years, Raymond Smith lived in Haddon Heights, NJ, and eventually passed away in February 1979, leaving behind a legacy of service, resilience, and dedication to others.

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