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Thomas Bryan Smiley, Jr.


Thomas (Tom) Bryan Smiley, Jr. passed away on December 24, 2022.

Thomas was born November 18, 1929 in Schenectady, New York, where he lived briefly before he and his parents returned to North Carolina. He grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he attended high school and met his future wife and love of his life, Barbara Daniel Smiley.

He joined the ROTC with the intention to continue as a Navy pilot after graduation. After attending UNC for two years, he entered the Navy full-time, earning his wings as a Naval Aviator on his 21st birthday in 1950. Tom married his high school sweetheart, Barbara, on July 15, 1951, and the newlyweds moved to California where he was stationed. Tom was a Navy pilot with Attack Squadron Sixty-Five during the Korean conflict, flying off the USS Boxer in a one-man Skyraider. His airplane was chosen to test the use of fixed cameras for intel and one of the pictures that he took flying a mission over North Korea was featured in Time Magazine in 1951.

After leaving the Navy in 1952, Tom and Barbara returned to North Carolina and finished college together at UNC. He then continued his education in Nuclear Health Physics at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. They moved to Texas in 1957 with their twin daughters, Kit and Beth, after Tom accepted a job with General Dynamics in the nuclear program, eventually helping it close safely before moving into environmental health and safety. They completed their family with daughters Laura and BJ. He served in the Naval Reserves for a number of years, maintaining his flight status and completing his service as a Lieutenant.

Tom and Barbara moved their family to Aledo in 1968. He was able to pursue his love of hobby farming through a large garden, chickens, horses, sheep and dogs. He was a longtime member of the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. After retiring, Tom continued his love of history by traveling with Barbara to many of the state capitals for research about their early history and the Founding Fathers. He continued his great love of the ocean by going to the beach with family regularly throughout his life.

Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, who passed away October 12, 2022, and his daughter Beth Smiley Becker, who passed away in 2013. He is survived by daughters Kit Smiley Marshall and husband Hugh, Laura Smiley Paulk and husband Larry, and BJ Smiley Goins and husband Ron; ten grandchildren; and thirteen great-grandchildren. We celebrate his life and remember his devotion to faith and family, his love of the ocean and NC mountains, and especially his love of his beloved wife, Barbara.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 29, at Galbreaith Pickard Funeral Chapel, 913 N. Elm St., Weatherford, in the stateroom, followed by a service at 10 a.m. Friday, December 30, at the Chapel. Burial will follow in Brown Cemetery, Aledo.

For those wishing to do so, memorials may be made to WallBuilders, Aledo.

The Community News
December 30, 2022