Cover photo for Carl Edward Smith's Obituary
Carl Edward Smith Profile Photo

Carl Edward Smith

June 30, 1918 — May 16, 2024


Carl Edward Smith


Carl Edward Smith, age 105, passed away on Thursday, May 16, 2024, surrounded by his loving family at the Maples Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Born in Franklin, Massachusetts on June 30, 1918, he was the son of Clyde Sidney and Louise Mary (Garand) Smith. Carl was raised in Franklin and graduated from Franklin High School with the class of 1936. 

In 1937, Carl began his career with the New England Telephone Company as a lineman, setting up the wooden poles and stringing the wires so that homes and businesses could utilize the newer technology. It was while working as a lineman near Framingham State College that he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and could not help but ask her on a date. Joanna Hazlett accepted his bold offer and the two were soon going steady. 

Carl continued to work for the New England Telephone Company, in various roles including heavy construction and cable, until 1941 when he joined the armed forces. Carl initially served in the Infantry and Signal Corps until the United States officially entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Carl then proudly enlisted in the Army Air Corps, training to become a fighter pilot. In May of 1943 he graduated from flying school and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. From there Carl was stationed in Greenwood, Mississippi, where he instructed several classes in military flying for new cadets. 

Carl married the love of his life, Joanna H. Hazlett, on August 31, 1943, in the Blessed Sacrament Church in Walpole, Massachusetts. After their wedding, Carl and Joanna returned to Greenwood and Carl resumed training cadets until a reassignment in 1944 to Chanute Field in Illinois. In Illinois, Carl learned electrical engineering, studying radio theory and frequency modulation, and even building a super hetradyne receiver and transmitted from his own circuit diagram. After completing these studies, Carl was transferred to Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Alabama. In Montgomery, Carl used the knowledge and skills he gained in Illinois to convert the entire base communications from Army Air Corps procedures to the new Air Force procedures, for both radio and telephone communications. 

In July of 1945, having fulfilled his duty to his country, Carl and Joanna moved to Walpole, Massachusetts where they would raise their family. Carl resumed working at the New England Telephone Company where he held numerous management roles over the years and even worked on the initial introduction of computers into the telephone business. Carl's work ethic and dedication was recognized, and eventually Carl was promoted to Plant Supervisor of the Installation and Maintenance departments, covering the entire state of Rhode Island. Back at home, Carl loved to take his family camping, regularly packing up the kids and the car and heading to the mountains to spend a week or two under the stars. Sometimes the family would stay at the Lafayette Place Campground at Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire, sometimes they would travel to Vermont, and they even stayed at a camp on an island that they had to take a rowboat to! His time in the service taught him the value of teamwork and efficiency, which he then passed on to his children, assigning everyone a role on their trips, and often setting up and breaking down their campsites in record times, always looking to beat their best number. 


After his retirement in 1987, Carl's love of camping continued, but he traded in his army cot for a much more comfortable RV that he and Joanna used to travel across the country. The pair travelled as often as they could, heading out West to see Big Sur in California and down to the bayou in Louisiana, among many other fabulous destinations. If there was a road, they would travel it, and travel it they did, as Carl visited every state in the US at least once, if not more. Every year though, Carl and Joanna made their way south to Florida, spending their winters in Bonita Springs at a beautiful RV park that was based in an old citrus grove. They loved their warm winter getaway, especially when their kids and grandkids would come to visit. 

In his free time Carl could be found enjoying the great outdoors. He was an avid runner, often logging seven miles a day, and continued to compete in road races until he was 80, multiple times holding the title of 'Oldest Runner' at the Walpole Road Race. Carl also enjoyed spending time on the water in his kayak, making his way across the many pristine lakes in Winnisquam area of New Hampshire as well as Narragansett Bay and even towing his kayak down to the Florida Keys to kayak there. In addition to these hobbies, Carl was a man of many talents including woodworking, whittling, and oil painting. He was a jack of all trades and rarely needed to call someone for help, often opting to figure it out for himself. There also wasn’t a roll of duct tape that Carl didn’t love.

Family was so important to Carl. He raised his children to be respectful and disciplined, while showing them love and support. Carl found immense value in education and insisted on all his children attending college, and so he worked hard to finance their educations, giving them an advantage in life that they would appreciate forever. When his grandchildren were born, he was over the moon with joy. Being a grandfather was a blessing that he cherished, fully embracing the role. As the grandkids grew older, Carl would email back and forth with them to keep in touch, making him quite the cool grandfather!

Beloved husband of the late Joanna H. (Hazlett) Smith

Loving father of Mary S. Collins, and her husband Timothy, of Walpole, Joanna L. MacDonald of Plainville, Kathryn A. Larner, and her husband John, of Plainville, Carl E. Smith Jr., and his wife Jody, of Norwood, Daniel R. Smith of Plainville, and John J. Smith of Plainville.

Cherished grandfather to fourteen grandchildren and twenty-six great grandchildren.

Brother of the late Harold C. Smith and Sterling S. Smith

Also survived by many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Carl's Life Celebration on Tuesday, May 21st, 2024, from 4:00 - 7:00 pm in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at 10:00 am in the Blessed Sacrament Church, 10 Diamond Street, Walpole. Interment will follow at Saint Francis Cemetery in Walpole.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Carl's name may be made to Catholic Television at P.O. Box 9196, Watertown, MA 02471 or by visiting



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Past Services

Life Celebration

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home

48 Common St, Walpole, MA 02081

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Blessed Sacrament Church

10 Diamond St, Walpole, MA 02081

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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