Eric George Smith S/L (Ret’d), loving husband of 65 years to Dinah Rosaleen (Cole), passed away peacefully March 30th, 2019 at the Ottawa General Hospital in his 99th year. He was a loving father to Erin Zintel (Smith) and a kind-hearted father-in-law to Bob Zintel. Eric was a proud and loving Grandpa to Sarah and Kristen Zintel. Eric will be remembered by his many nieces and nephews. Eric was a friend to so many who remember his sense of humour, storytelling and how he always had time to have a conversation. Predeceased by his parents George and Mary Ann Smith; his brother Sidney (Thelma); sisters Inez McFadden (William), Muriel Greenidge (Herbert), and Mavis Rothwell (Norman).
Born January 26th, 1921 in the town of Navan, Ontario, Eric was educated at Navan Continuation School, Vankleek Hill Collegiate and the Ottawa Normal School (Teachers College). Eric taught school in Carlsbad SS#12 when he was 19 years old. In 1940, Eric assisted the Police in apprehending John Miki who murdered police officer Harold Dent in Navan. On July 1st, 1941 Eric enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He reported to the Manning depot, Toronto on August 27th, 1941. He was then transferred to Trenton, Belleville, Portage La Prairie and Camp Borden where he received his flying wings. Eric was commissioned on July 17th, 1942. In April 1945, Eric received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). His citation reads as follows: “This officer has completed a large number of operational sorties. He is a pilot of exceptional ability who has never let either adverse weather or enemy opposition deter him from completing his allotted tasks. He has inflicted considerable damage on enemy lines of communication, mechanical transportation and rolling stock. He has at all times exhibited great determination, initiative and daring and set an inspiring example by his fine fighting spirit and devotion to duty”
In 1952, Eric began instructing on Sabre F-86 jets and was invited to participate in the Korean War as an exchange pilot with the U.S. Air force going up against Russian MiG’s. In 1952, the U.S. government decorated Eric with their U.S. Air Medal : “Squadron Leader Eric G. Smith distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial combat as a pilot of an F-86 aircraft, 4th Fighter interceptor Wing, Fifth Air Force, flying missions against enemies of the United States, from 10 September 1952 to 14December 1952. While flying combat air patrol and various other type missions deep into enemy territory, many times against a superior number of enemy aircraft, his dedication to duty and demonstrated skill were a magnificent contribution to the successful completion of the assigned mission. As a result of his fortitude and courage on these occasions he has brought great credit upon himself, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Force.”
Eric was the Commander of Sqn. No 413 from January 12th, 1959 to February 2nd, 1961.
Over the course of Eric’s distinguished military career he was honoured and awarded the following medals:
• Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
• 1939-45 Star
• France and Germany Star
• Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp
• Volunteer Service 1939-45
• Korea Medal
• Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea
• United Nations Korea Medal
• CD Canadian Forces Decoration
• United States Air Medal
• Korean War Veterans Association Medal
• Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
• French Legion of Honour at the French embassy in Ottawa.
In March 1953, while stationed in Chatham New Brunswick, Eric met Dinah Rosaleen Cole. They were married in Toronto on May 16th, 1953.
Eric retired from the RCAF in August 1968 and moved to a farm 7 miles south of Kemptville where he and Dinah took up farming. Eric sold real estate for Albert Gale Real Estate from 1971 until his retirement in 1991.
In May 2001, Eric and Dinah moved back to his home town of Navan.
Eric enjoyed both playing and watching hockey. Eric played hockey for the winning Navan team in the 1946 Bradley Cup in which he scored five goals. Eric’s other favourite sport was curling which he played up until 2015.
Eric was a proud member of the RCAF, SPAADS, Branch 632 Canadian Legion, Orleans, 410(William Barker VC) Wing RCAFA, Knights of the Round Table, Masonic Lodge Maitland Chapter, Tunis Shriners, Legion of Honour and the Navan Curling Club.
The family would like to thank the Ottawa General 5th floor nurses and doctors and Eric’s family doctor – Dr. Bujold. The family would also like to thank the care at home from SE Health/Access Care and Champlain LHIN.
Family and friends are invited to visit at the St. Laurent Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 1200 Ogilvie Road (at Aviation Parkway), Ottawa, on Friday, April 5, 2019 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. A Funeral Service will take place at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 3480 Trim Road, Navan, on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 11 am.
As an expression of sympathy, donations to St. Mary’s Anglican Church would be greatly appreciated by the family: P.O. Box 71, 3480 Trim Road, Navan, Ontario K4B 1J3. Interac transfers can also be sent at StMarys.Navan@outlook.com.