Earl Thomas "Hammer" Smith, husband of 58 years to June Stivers Smith, died on January 21, 2021, at Baptist Health La Grange. Born in Carlisle, KY on December 8, 1937, he was the son of the late Avery Allen and Edith Louisa Ockerman Smith. Upon graduating from Eastern Kentucky University, Mr. Smith moved to New Castle, KY in August 1961 to teach social studies at Henry County High School. He was a passionate and popular teacher whose students gave him his nickname. After teaching for several years, he moved into school administration, retiring from the school system after 28 years.


Hammer believed that service to community was the best work of life. Beyond his career as an educator, he was active in the Jaycees serving as President of the local organization, and was a City Council member for the city of New Castle, serving multiple terms as Mayor. He served on the New Castle Volunteer Fire Department as a volunteer and also as Chief of the department, was a founding member of the New Castle Emergency Squad and became an EMT while serving, and spent several years as Civil Defense Coordinator for the County. Hammer was a longtime member of the New Castle Christian Church and a current Elder there. His service included several mission trips to build churches and schools in Ecuador, Brazil, and Jamaica.


Hammer had a deep love of history and genealogy. He was a charter member of the Henry County Historical Society and volunteered countless hours as curator of the History Center. He cherished the time he spent organizing records and editing the newsletter as he recognized and valued the importance of protecting and preserving the county history for future generations. He coauthored two books, Historic Images of Henry County and Historic Kentucky Postcard Art 1900-2013: Shelby, Henry, Spencer Counties, and also assisted in the publication of several others. Numerous times he spoke of how thankful he was to be able to help the many people who stopped in to research their families. He was frequently asked to speak to schools and community groups about the county's history. Anyone who knew him knew he loved children. He never saw a child he didn't want to speak to and make smile and children adored him in return. He never met a stranger.


Survivors other than his wife include his son, Douglas C. Smith (Tamela W. Smith); granddaughter, Morgan J. Maxwell (Erik Haslinger); his brother John Smith; two sisters, Ann Jolly and June Carter; and numerous nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Charles Smith and Kenneth "Butch" Smith.


Funeral services are private due to Covid.


Memorial contributions are suggested to the Henry County Retired Teachers Scholarship Fund, c/o Mildred Elston, 98 Adams Street, New Castle, KY 40050 or the New Castle Christian Church, Box 475, New Castle, KY 40050.


Prewitt New Castle Funeral Home are in charge of arrangements.


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