Final salute goes out to last surviving WWI Marine
The News-Press
June 12, 2005

Harold M. Smith held the designation as oldest Marine for only four months, but another legacy will last forever.

Smith, 104, who died last Sunday, is probably the last member of the U.S. Marine Corps to serve during World War I.

"He's the last one we have on our records,'' says Mike Miller, senior archivist at Gray Research Center in Quantico, Va. "We're going to miss him and all the Marines that represented a whole generation.''

The Marine Corps doesn't officially rank its remaining Leathernecks, but Miller says from what he can figure, Smith is the last one left from WWI.

Smith is the fifth Marine 104 years and older to die in the past 15 months. One was 105, and the other three 106.

Military services will be on Flag Day - 3:30 p.m. Tuesday - at Fort Myers Congressional United Church of Christ at 8210 College Parkway in south Fort Myers.

"My dad was very patriotic and very Marine, but I think he'd be bowled over by all the fanfare,'' says Janet Waite, Smith's daughter. "My mother would be beaming.''

Smith, who died of complications from diabetes, lost his wife, Kathryn, in 1995.

Smith joined the Marines at 17 with his parents' permission in 1917. He didn't see combat because the war ended six months after he enlisted.


Rest In Peace