Father Thomas Aloysius Smith Obituary:


Born December 22, 1884
Died October 5, 1956
     A Prestonian born and proud of it, one of a family of ten, Thomas Aloysius Smith arrived at the Mount in 1897, and at once came to be known as "Toddy."  Of his school days, we have a description from a contemporary.  "Toddy" was of a very whimsical nature and habitually addressed himself to life as if it were presented as a pageant of fun.  He did not shine in histrionics, but certainly in cricket he was an outstanding medium-paced bowler, who would quite naturally send down a ball that would 'come back' six or nine inches, whipping from the pitch and rising sharply.  I kept wicket to him for three years and vividly remember how he got the batsman tied up  .  .  .   He was always good natured and reliable, even when unpredictable."  Unpredictable !  The same correspondent describes an oral exam - always a matter of great solemnity under Fr. Edgar Blount - at which Toddy was asked to begin Mark Anthony's speech.  He started off - he had a slight stutter -"L-lend m-me your ears - and w-w-wash them that you may hear" ! 
     Thomas joined the Society with the rest of his class in 1903, and after taking his first vows did three years' philosophy at St. Mary's Hall. From 1908 to 1912 he studied Classics and History at Campion Hall, Oxford, and later proceeded M.A. in 1915.  He taught at Beaumont during 1912 and at Mount St. Mary's during 1913.  Then, for his theology, he went to Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained in 1917. On completing theology in 1918, he successively at Liverpool, Leeds and Stamford Hill, spending a year at each.  He returned to Ireland for his tertianship at Tullabeg, 1922.  This was followed by three years' teaching at the Mount.  In 1926 he sailed for British Guiana, where he remained for the next twenty years. 
Father Thomas Aloysius Smith, SJ

       From 1926 to 1928 Fr. Smith taught at St. Stanislaus' College, Georgetown.  He was transferred to the staff of the Cathedral where he made his mark as a preacher.  From 1930 to 1932 he served in the North West District at Morawhanna.  Returning to Georgetown, he spent the next ten years, 1932-42, teaching at St. Stanislaus' College.  During this period Fr. Smith initiated the Catholic Broadcast from Georgetown, which he began as a twice-monthly half-hours talk on Sunday mornings.  Sponsored by the Sodality of Our Lady and St. Ignatius, his first two years of radio talks - 1937 and 1938 - were printed in a book form by the Georgetown Daily Chronicle, Ltd., under the titles:  "God and the World"  and  "God and His Message."

Father Thomas Aloysius Smith, Cheltenham, 1953
Fr. Tom - 1953
      From 1942 Fr. Smith was engaged in parish work on the East Coast, Demarara, serving first at Victoria until 1946, and at Plaisance until 1947. On the death of Fr. Purcell in 1939, he had taken over the reins of the Catholic Standard together with Fr. Francis Smith as Co-Editor.  Two years later Fr. Francis Smith relinquished his part on becoming Head Master of St. Stanislaus College, and Fr. Tom Smith continued on the Standard until 1947. 

     In 1947 Fr. Smith came back to England for a rest, but in fact he did not return to British Guiana.  He supplied at St. Ignatius', Preston - his home parish - 1947-48, and was then stationed at the Holy Name, Manchester, 1948-51.  In the latter year he was transferred to Bristol, and after three years there to Craighead.  As a preacher Fr. Smith had the gift of being able to deliver a perfectly sound sermon at the shortest of notice.  He used to say that all the preparation he needed was ten minutes with a cigarette; but the result was always worth listening to.  At Craighead his simple, homely talks were greatly appreciated by retreatants, and his extensive knowledge was displayed in the Quiz at Retreats.

     Although very shy and retiring by nature, Fr. Smith was a good companion, and his humorous outlook on life made him an excellent community man.  Even when in failing health and walking with two sticks, he would boast of his "iron constitution."  But the toughest of constitutions must yield at last, and he was found dead in his room on Friday, October 5th, 1956.  Although suffering from bronchitis, which made his breathing laboured, he had been working as usual up to the previous Sunday, when he made an appeal for retreatants at a near-by church.  On the Monday he felt worse and saw the doctor, who prescribed some medicine which eased him.  He made a good supper on Thursday evening but on the following morning did not appear for his Mass at 6:45.  Br. Dunn, who went to look for him, found him slumped in his chair.  Fr. Dillon was summoned and anointed him immediately.  The body was still warm, and the doctor said he had died from cardiac collapse after myocardial degeneration.  The Dirge was sung at St. Aloysius' on Sunday evening, and on Monday Fr. Rector sang the solemn Requiem Mass and conducted the funeral at Balbeth Cemetery.  The family was represented by his brother, F.W. Smith of Preston, and niece. Two surviving sisters are nuns, and there is another sister at Preston and another brother in America.   R.I.P.

     This obituary appears to have been photocopied from a book and has page numbers 142,143, and 144 on the photocopied sheets, and includes a picture of Fr. Tom Smith.
It was received 15 Oct 1999 from :
Tim Noble, SJ
Campion House
112 Thornbury Road
Middx TW7 4NN

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