COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – The Texas A&M Engineering Extension (TEEX) family is mourning the loss of former Emergency Services Training Institute (ESTI) Division Director Chief Henry D. Smith, 99, of Bryan. Chief Smith passed away peacefully on January 11, 2017. Chief Smith was the head of the Fire School from 1957-1986. Prior to that, he was an instructor for the Fireman’s Training School, and was promoted to acting head in 1955 before being named the Division Director two years later, a position he would hold for the next 29 years.
“This is a sad time for TEEX and the Fire School,” said Chief Robert Moore, the current ESTI Division Director. “Chief Smith was instrumental in building our school and the reputation that we enjoy today. He will be greatly missed not only by TEEX and the Fire School, but by the entire Texas Fire Service.”
Former Division Director Les Bunte added the following. “I and so many others in the fire service were very blessed to have worked with Chief Henry D. Smith, and more importantly, being benefactors of his vision, teachings and contributions to the fire service world-wide. Through his work, and his great ability to inspire others, he blazed the trail, set the foundation and framed the Texas A&M Fire School for global greatness. Today, this fire school is known for being the largest and best in the world.”
Chief Smith’s experience with the fire service in Texas started as a volunteer firefighter in Kingsville in 1941. From 1947-1950, he served as the Fire Chief of the Harlingen Fire Department.
He was a member of many state, national and international training programs. He was the first official and longest serving Chairman of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, serving in that role from 1970-1987. He was also instrumental in the creation of the training programs for Spanish-speaking firefighters at TEEX. The Spanish Annual Fire School celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016.
Chief Smith was also responsible for tremendous growth of the facilities at the Brayton Fire Training Field. During his time, the field doubled in size to 120 acres to accommodate new programs including the Industrial Fire training programs, liquid natural gas training, and hazardous materials training.
The awards and accolades Chief Smith won over the years include being one of only a few people to receive two Faculty Distinguished Achievement Awards from Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students in 1964 and 1982. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from TEEX in 1981.
In 2006, the Henry D. Smith Operations Complex was built at the Brayton Fire Training field. It serves as the main administration building and includes offices, classrooms and meeting space.
Services will be conducted with the traditional honors bestowed upon those in the fire service.
Memorial Funeral Chapel
Friday, January 13, 2017, 6PM to 8PM
1515 S. College Ave.
Bryan, TX 77801
First Baptist Church
Saturday, January 14, 2017, 10:30 AM
3100 Cambridge Dr., Bryan, TX. 77802
Internment will immediately follow at College Station Cemetery. Immediately following the funeral, there will be fellowship at the H.D. Smith Building at Brayton Fire Training Field.
For More Information:
979-595-5019 or Casey.Richardson@teex.tamu.edu