Harry O. Smith

11/05/2013 12:36 PM |

Lifelong Riverhead resident Harry O. Smith died Nov. 4 at the Riverhead Care Center, where he had resided since 2009 after breaking a hip during a fall at his home. He was 94.

One of five children, he was born July 8, 1919, to Clara (Miller) and Charles Smith. He attended school in Riverhead and, after completing his studies, went to work at Cantin’s Garage. He worked as an auto mechanic by day and as a roller-skating instructor at night.

In 1942, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. In the military, he did repair work on engines and transmissions. Family said he was a proud Marine who saw action in the South Pacific during World War II, fighting with the 3rd Division at Guadalcanal, Guam and Bougainville before receiving an honorable discharge in October 1945.

While still stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Harry met his future bride, Anastacia Berenzy, at the Sunrise Inn in Eastport, where she was a waitress. They were married Jan, 27, 1946, at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Riverhead.

Upon his return to civilian life, he worked at Bennett Motors and was later a machinist at Riverhead Auto Parts for many years. He retired in 1982 but continued working part-time on marine engines at Hampton Boat Works in Hampton Bays. According to relatives, he enjoyed fixing motors and engines his entire life and helped many family members and friends with their cars and equipment.

Mr. Smith was a great sports enthusiast and an avid bowler and golfer, according to family members. He always enjoyed good music and was quite a dancer, they said, especially doing the Lindy hop, and he took pride in maintaining his home and yard. He could always be seen riding his lawn mower and working with his wife outdoors. He also liked carpentry, enjoyed building things and was very handy with small plumbing and electrical jobs, they said.

Mr. Smith spent the winter months with his family at their Bradenton, Fla., condo, making the long drive each year. Family said he loved dogs and got great pleasure from the three dachshunds he had during his lifetime:  Schone, Heidi and Fritz.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Smith is survived by his daughter, Carolyn.

The family will receive visitors Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A funeral service will take place Thursday, Nov. 7, at 9:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead. Interment will be at the church cemetery.