Eugene Smith during World War II.
provided by Mike Jones
(Switzerland County, Ind.) – A Switzerland County World War II veteran who served with a famous group of aviators has died.
Eugene Smith was a white member of the Tuskegee Airmen during the second World War. Smith, who lived in Florence, Indiana for the past 20 years, died Wednesday, November 21 at the age of 94.
Despite his Caucasian appearance, Smith was ordered to fly with the African-American Tuskegee Airmen in WWII. His birth certificate was marked with a “C” for “colored” due to his mixed European and Native American ancestry.
Switzerland County Schools Superintendent Mike Jones, who was a friend of Smith, said a book on his life is forthcoming.
Funeral details for Smith have not been announced. Jones said a memorial service for Smith will be held at Patriot Baptist Church at a later date.
Jones wrote Smith's obituary:
Eugene Smith age 94 passed away on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at the Harrison County Hospital in Cynthiana, Kentucky. Eugene was born in 1918 in Franklin, Ohio. He graduated from Withrow High School in Cincinnati in 1936. He ran track and played baseball at Withrow. He attended and received his BA from Kentucky State University in Frankfort. After college and the outbreak of WWII he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and wanted to be a fighter pilot. He flew with the famed Tuskegee Airmen and escorted bombers on many missions including the raid on Hitler’s oilfields in Ploesti, Romania. After he completed his missions he was a flight instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen for the rest of his enlistment.
After WWII Eugene attended law School at the Franklin College of Law in Columbus, Ohio on the G.I. Bill. He practiced law in Cincinnati for over fifty years. He had many big cases including orally arguing a first amendment case before the United States Supreme Court. Eugene served as the Chief Trial Lawyer in the Hamilton County Ohio Public Defender’s Office for several years. During this time he led the at the time controversial efforts to integrate juries in the county.
After retirement in the early 1990’s Eugene moved to Florence, Indiana where he lived out his retirement on a houseboat at the Turtle Creek Marina. He enjoyed going to the Senior Citizen’s Meal Site in Vevay, reading and visiting with friends. He was a member of the Patriot Baptist Church. A memorial service will be held on a date to be announced at the Patriot Baptist Church. Eugene is survived by three children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.