Wake, funeral set for Hobart drowning victims
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent July 2, 2014 10:46PM
Tatiana Smith and her sons, Terrion and Donel | Teresa Auch Schultz/For the Post-Tribune
Updated: July 3, 2014 2:03AM
GARY — The family of two young brothers who drowned last month in a Hobart pond have raised most, but not all, of the funds needed for the boys’ funeral services and burial, a funeral home spokesman said.
Visitation services for Terrion Smith, 8, and Donel Smith, 9, are from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday with family hour from 6 to 8 p.m. at Manuel Memorial Funeral Home, 421 W. 5th Ave., Gary.
Funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 2307 Rhode Island St., Gary, where Pastor Stilman Murph will give the eulogy and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson will speak.
A number of local law enforcement agencies have committed to attend and will serve as escorts in the funeral processional in support of the Smith family.
Burial will be in Illinois.
“The family is pretty close, but not complete,” said Emerson May II, spokesman for Manuel Memorial Funeral Home, of the funds collected.
He said the family is still collecting donations and he expects they will have the amount needed by the funeral.
“We definitely will be able to bury the boys,” May said.
A fund was started at Chase Bank to raise money for the boys’ funeral and burial because the family couldn’t afford the expense. Donations can still be made to the “Smith Children of Gary, Ind., Memorial Fund” at any Chase branch.
The boys’ mother, Tatiana Smith, also organized a march from the water-filled pit on the 4000 block of Missouri Street where the boys drowned to their Gary home about a mile away a few days after their death to raise money for their funeral expenses. She vowed to continue raising funds until she raised the amount needed.
According to Hobart police, two police officers had to swim to depths of 12 to 20 feet to recover Terrion and Donel from the bottom of a water-filled pit on June 14.
The brothers were with a group of children when Terrion began to panic in the water and Donel tried to help him, but then began to panic himself, according to the police report.
The report said the pit had a short ledge and sharp drop-off and was deeper than it looked.
The city attorney is considering legal action against the owner of the property for knowingly violating ordinances and regulations while creating the deep, water-filled pit.
The investigation has not been completed.