VAN BUREN – Tom J. Smith, 72, died unexpectedly Jan. 8, 2005, at a Bangor hospital. He was born April 15, 1932, in Hamlin, the son of Herbert and Artheline (Beaulieu) Smith. Tom was educated in local schools and was a 1950 graduate of Van Buren Boys High School. He was a US Air Force veteran of the Korean War during which time he worked principally as an aircraft mechanic. He was a member of the American Legion Levasseur-Farrell Post No. 49 of Van Buren and was a 29 year member of the Van Buren Fire Dept., serving several years as assistant chief. He was employed by the J.J. Paradis Oil Company in Van Buren for 40 years. Among Tom’s greatest loves were first his God, his wife Omerine, his children and grandchildren. Tom thoroughly enjoyed helping people in the simplest of ways. Aside from his avid devotion to the local fire department, and his 40 years as a truck driver and petroleum deliveryman, he loved staying busy in his retirement years. For the past several years, Tom worked as an attendant at the Van Buren Dead River service station where he regularly went beyond the call of duty in his service to customers. Soft spoken and affable, never drawing attention to himself, he just liked to help people in any way he could. His “second” career in retirement perhaps brought him the greatest pleasure: assisting bereaved families as a funeral attendant while working part time at the Ouellette-Thibault Funeral Home. His sincerity and compassion in assisting at funerals and all other areas of funeral service in the past several years just came naturally to Tom, and it was truly a labor of love. All of this came to an abrupt end on Monday evening, Jan. 3, when he suffered a severe stroke, ending in his quiet and peaceful return to his God early Saturday morning at a Bangor hospital. He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Omerine (Ouellette) Smith of Van Buren; two daughters, Sandra Smith of Bristol, Conn. and Pamela Smith of Pemberton, N.J.; four sons, Daniel Smith and his wife, Lisa, of Oakland, Robert Smith and his wife, Tina, Michael Smith and his wife, Donna, all of Van Buren, Tommy Smith of Saco; 12 grandchildren, Jonathan, Matthew, Danielle, Calder, Heather, Wesley, Kelsey, Lance, Myka, Amber, Cole, and Connor; one brother, Elmer Smith of Santa Ana, Calif.; four sisters, Joan Cyr, Irene Smith, and Betty Paradis, all of Van Buren; Mildred Kelly of Colombia, Pa.; several nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends may call 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. until time of service Wednesday, at the Ouellette-Thibault Funeral Home, 118 High St., Van Buren. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, at the St. Bruno-St. Remi Catholic Church. Spring interment will be in the Grande Riviere Cemetery. Those who wish may contribute in his memory to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Maine, 87 Elm Street, Suite, 306, Camden, 04843, the St. Bruno-St. Remi Parish Memorial Fund, 280 Main St., Van Buren, 04785, or to the American Diabetes Association, Maine Affiliate Inc., 163 Lancaster St., Suite 98R, Portland, 04101.