NEWTON, NJ—Newton Brave legend Wallace “Hank” R Smith, 84, of Newton, passed away on January 2 at Newton Medical Center. Smith was born in Newton and was a lifelong resident. He graduated from Newton High School in the class of 51.
He was a United States Air Force veteran and proudly served during the Korean Conflict. He was a foreman at JCP&L in Hampton Township for over 30 years before his retirement. Most recently, Hank was a school crossing guard.
Smith is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara; his three children, Sherri Smith of Alameda, California, Joni Smith of Newton, and Vicki Smith and fiancé, Anthony Kays, of Newton; his grandchildren, Anthony Smith and Derek Smith; and his brother, Ronald H. Smith and wife, Beverly, of Newton.
He was a member of the Newton Recreation League, a past president of the Newton Junior Athletic League, where he was a baseball umpire, and a member of the Fredon Gun Club.
The Newton Recreation Commission is trying to raise funds in order to complete a resurfacing of the scoreboard located at the Babe Ruth Baseball field in Memory Park, in honor of Smith.
“My primary goal at this time is to raise the funds necessary to complete the resurfacing of the scoreboard in Hank’s honor,” Recreation Supervisor, Debbie Danielson said. “As the Spring season approaches, Hank’s absence will be more prominently felt. Hank would ensure almost daily, as witnessed by his visits and drive-bys to the Babe Ruth field, that the field was ready for play. He was very dedicated and committed not only to the game of baseball, but most importantly the Newton Braves themselves,” she said.
Donations for the scoreboard resurfacing can be made out to the Town of Newton and sent to Attn: Recreation Department, 39 Trinity Street, Newton. Any questions contact Danielson at 973-903-7898.
“Hank was an icon to the Braves organization and very passionate about never missing a game,” a Facebook posted noted on the Town of Newton Recreation site about the passing of Smith. “He was the voice on the sidelines and the keeper of the scoreboard controls. We will miss Hank, but we know for sure when the players take the field in the spring, they will have an angel watching over them from the skies above.”
Once enough money is raised to resurface the scoreboard, a celebration in honor of Smith's life will occur at the field with his family and friends present. Danielson hopes this will happen in time for the home opener game in March.