IHS Class of 1940
Edwin Carl Smith, M. D.
Edwin Carl Smith was born on August 8, 1922. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward P. and Katherine (Frosch) Smith. He was joined by a younger brother, Robert, who suffered from an illness and injury that made Robert an invalid for many years. The family made their home at 226 Otsego Street in Ilion.
As a young man, Edwin was an outstanding Boy Scout. He was as a member of the Ilion Boy Scouts Troop 7, Episcopal Church, led by George F. Hildlebrandt. In March 1937, he was the first prize winner in a Paramount movie company contest for the best composition on any scene or character in the movie "The Plainsman". The first prize was a motion picture camera. By June 1939, he was presented with one of the highest awards in scouting by the Ilion Court of Review. Edwin was awarded the Gold Palm and was the only scout in Ilion and Herkimer County to receive such recognition in those recent years. To be eligible for a Gold Palm, 11 merit badges were required. Smith had been active in scouting for nearly six years. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and was sent as representative, of Troop 7 of the Boy Scouts, to the National Jamboree, in 1937, in Washington DC.
High School Scholar, Outstanding School Citizen and Athlete
His high school yearbook caption listed Edwin Smith's many accomplishments. He participated in athletics, honor societies, student government and student social activities while excelling at scholarship.
Class of 1940 Valedictorian and National Elks Scholarship Winner
Edwin Smith was valedictorian of the Ilion High School Class of 1940. His graduation average was 95.25 percent. Superintendent Earl P. Watkin announced that was the highest average, ever attained at the high school, up to that time. Another record was created when four boys were revealed as having earned the next four honor places on the list with Leland Markley as salutatorian with a 94.53 average. The other three were George Getman, 94.30 percent; Earl Huyck, 92.30; and Emmons Sheffield, 91.47.
Elks Magazine Publishes Reports On Scholarship Winners-Lauds Ilion Boy
Edwin was awarded the first prize in the Elks National Scholarship contest; an accomplishment that has not been repeated by any other Ilion alumnus. He attended the national convention at Houston, Texas to receive his award in June 1940. The Ilion Elks Lodge formed a committee, of past exalted rulers, to make plans for a local reception for Edwin Smith to celebrate his accomplishment. The Fall 1940 Elks Magazine featured Edwin C. Smith and he was given high praise by the Chairman of the National Foundation of Trustees. The article is included below and enumerated all of Edwin's outstanding accomplishments as a young man.
In the current, issue of the Elks Magazine, high praise has been given to Edwin C. Smith, Otsego Street by the chairman of the Elks National Foundation Trustees in his annual report.
Several weeks ago, Smith was awarded the first prize of $600, an airplane trip to Houston, Texas, and a return trip to New York by boat, for being one of the country's foremost outstanding high school students. The Elks foundation is a charitable foundation and is conducted for the purpose of selecting each year, four students in the United States to whom they award prizes which must be used to further his or her education. It is the purpose of the Foundation to seek out boys and girls who not only have attained high marks in high school but who stand high in their own circles; young people who have the ability to overcome all difficulties in their pursuit of knowledge. In the opinion of the judges, Edwin C. Smith, class of 1940 valedictorian, Ilion High School, had all the necessary qualifications for the place.
In awarding the Elks prize to Smith, the chairman said:
Our first prize of $600 is awarded to Edwin C. Smith of Ilion, New York, whose average scholastic rating for the four years in the high school at Ilion was the highest attained by any student in that school in more than twenty years. For this boy to get a 95 in his scholastic rating was most unusual, 97.99 and 100 are more frequently found in his scholastic record. He has been a Boy Scout for five years and during this period has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with gold palm which requires thirty-one merit badges. He was sent as representative of Troop Seven of the Boy Scouts to the National Jamboree in 1937 in Washington and also is the possessor of a life guard certificate.
He has played tackle on the varsity football team and has held the track position as 100-yard and 220-yard dash man and during the last two years the Ilion high school track squad has been both county and sectional champion. He played intra-section football and this year was a member of the ski team. He has taken part in canoing, swimming, ice skating and tennis, being one of the school's speed skaters. For two years he has been a member of the student governing body as well as class president during his junior year and class treasurer during his senior year and, as a member of the school senate, was chairman of the athletic committee; for two years he has been secretary-treasurer of the Boys' Rifle Club, took a leading role in the senior play and is a member of the senior annual staff and monitor in the school's traffic system. He is a member of the Junior and Senior National Honor Society. He is one of two boys of the graduating class of 1940 who has won an honor "I" given for points covered by extra-curricular activities.
And how has this boy been able to accomplish all of these things and make this marvelous scholastic record? Much of his father's and mother's earnings have gone to pay hospital and doctor's bills accruing from the illness and injury of a younger brother who was an invalid for many years.
However, the boy persisted and earned money to take care of himself and pursue his schooling by delivering newspapers on a paper rout for five years, by peddling handbills, selling magazines, and working at various jobs during the summer vacations – as a caddy, as a grocery clerk. Through that medium he has been able to buy his own clothes, his own spectacles, and any and all so-called luxuries which any and all young men both need and require.
In awarding our first prize to this boy, we believe we are starting on the road to eminence and leadership in our nation in the years to come one of our most outstanding young men in our country.
College, Medical School and Marriage
Edwin C. Smith earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Union College in 1944. At Union College, he was third in his class. Edwin then entered the US Army in 1944 and served until 1946. While in the army, he earned his medical degree at the University of Rochester and graduated in 1947.
Edwin married Jean Elizabeth Holt; daughter of Frank and Florence (Pratt) Holt, of Herkimer. Jean was the sister of William 'Bill', Jack and Robert Holt. For over 57 years, Bill Holt owned and operated Holt Brothers Auto Dealership in Mohawk, NY.
Dr. Smith established a private medical practice in Manlius, NY. He and his wife, Jean, were parents of three sons; Collier, Mark and Brett.
Dr. Edwin C. Smith - Post Korean War
Dr. Edwin C. Smith was recalled to active service with the army on July 4, 1954, approximately one year after the end of the Korean War. At the time, he had been a self-employed physician, for seven years, in Manlius NY. Captain Smith was battalion surgeon in Headquarters Battery of the Corps' 204th Field Artillery Battalion. He was originally stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, before he arrived overseas, in Korea, in September 1954. Although the war was officially over, US troops were stationed in South Korea. He served with I Corps in Korea which was one of three in the Eighth Army. The I Corps coordinated an intensive post-truce training program for UN units under its control.
Gun Wounds Fatal to MD - April 2, 1955 - Utica Daily Press
Former Local Girl's Husband Dies in Japan - April 4, 1955 - Herkimer Evening Telegram
Capt. Edwin C. Smith, 32, husband of Mrs. Jean Holt Smith, Manlius, formerly of Herkimer, died in Tokyo, Japan, of gunshot wounds received in Korea on March 30, his wife has been notified by the War Department.
Only meager details were given in the telegram to Mrs. Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Holt, Herkimer.
Dr. Smith, battalion surgeon of Headquarters Battalion, 204th Field Artillery, in Korea, was recalled to active service July 4, 1954, from Manlius. He had been a practicing physician there for about seven years.
Capt. Smith was born in Ilion, August 1922, a son of Edward and Katherine Forsch Smith, Barringer Rd. He graduated from Ilion High School in 1939  and from Union College in 1943. He later received his doctorate at the University of Rochester.
Besides his wife and parents, he leaves three sons, Collis [Collier], Mark and Bret [Brett], all of Manlius, and a brother, Robert Smith, Newport Beach, Calif.
Mrs. Smith is a sister of Jack, Robert, and William Holt, all of Herkimer.
She told her brothers, who visited her at Manlius yesterday, the War Department stated only that her husband died of a wound in the left chest but how the shooting occurred she did not learn. The War Department wired her full details would be given in a letter expected to reach her shortly.
"The Lest we forget: The Korean war: Town of Manlius" documentation stated that Captain Smith died of an accidental gun shot wound. The fact that he was active in high school Rifle Club, only makes it more ironic that a man who dedicated his life to saving others would succumb to an accidental gun shot wound.
Jean (Holt) Smith eventually remarried to Marvin 'Rick' Ricker and continued to live in Manlius. Her second husband, Rick, died on July 12, 2014. Jean (Holt) Smith Ricker died January 24, 2019. She was survived by her sons, Brett, Mark and Collier Smith and by her step-children, Leslie (Ricker) Hall and Gregory Ricker.
Perhaps local members of the Holt family can provide the actual details of the accidental shooting of Captain Edwin Smith MD in 1955. His early death was a tragic loss of an Ilion alumnus that the National Elks named "...one of our most outstanding young men in our country."
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