Quentin P. Smith’s funeral is Tuesday
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org/648-3154 January 17, 2013 3:36PM
World War II veteran Dr. Quentin Smith smiles while telling stories of his flight training after being awarded a replacement Congressional Medal honoring the Tuskegee Airmen during a ceremony held at City Hall in Gary, Ind., Friday, April 20, 2012. Smith, 93, fought in World War II as part of the famed 99th Fighter Squadron. Smith's original medal was stolen when his home was burglarized last summer. | Guy Rhodes~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 3:08PM
GARY — The funeral for Tuskegee Airman Quentin P. Smith is at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 2425 W. 19th Ave.
Visitation is Monday from noon to 8 p.m. at the Guy & Allen Funeral Home, 2959 W. 11th Ave. Family hour is from 6 to 8 p.m.
Smith, a former Gary city councilman, educator and president of the Gary airport board, died Tuesday morning at age 94.
Smith was 24 when he enlisted during World War II, joining the legendary group of nearly 1,000 black pilots who trained at a segregated unit at an air base in Tuskegee, Ala. The Army Air Corps program trained blacks to fly and maintain combat aircraft.
Smith and other Tuskegee Airmen distinguished themselves in combat throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, escorting and protecting bomber aircraft on missions. Dozens airmen died, others were held as prisoners of war.
Smith retold his tale of service at many speaking engagements throughout Northwest Indiana in an effort to share the struggles of the Tuskegee Airmen and to keep their legacy alive.
After the war ended, he became an English teacher at Roosevelt High School and principal at West Side High School.
Smith played big roles in the community, as well, serving as a rare Republican on the City Council, leading the airport board and serving in leadership roles with the Gary NAACP.
In 2007, President George W. Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the collective group of about 300 surviving Tuskegee Airmen in a Washington ceremony. The medal is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Each airman received a bronze replica of the medal.