Norman Jackson Smith was born six days before Halloween, October 25, 1908 in the far East Texas town of Center that serves as the County Seat of Shelby. His parents Mary “Betty” McCauley and Robert Bethleham “Bob” Smith had been married here eighteen years previously. Norman was the youngest of nine children; Charlie Edward, John Arlin, Annie Belle, Ludie Virginia, twins Vada and Ada, Beadie and Effie Beatrice. His father provided on the family farm as many did at that time. Mother Betty took care of the household and with doubt each of the children had specific chores to help out.
Little is known about his life leading up to the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 that was the first peacetime conscription in the United States. It required all American men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft that began in October 1940. At age 31 Norman complied on October 16 by registering at Precinct 1, Sherwood, Texas where he lived with his wife. His wife remains a mystery as no other records about her could be found. At the time of registration he was employed by the Government Works Progress Administration (WPA). He was five foot, seven inches tall, weighed 144 pounds with brown eyes and hair and a dark complexion.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II. Norman was inducted into the US Army in Abilene, Texas on October 17, 1942. His enlistment record showed he was married and had a grammar school education but little else. His unit and where he served is unknown but at age 36 he was honorably discharged November 22, 1944 before wars end. In civilian life he became a welder and worked on oil pipelines.
With his first marriage ended by death or divorce he married Darlene Jacobsen Freeman in Parker County, Texas on November 1, 1969 at the age of 61. She brought three sons and two daughters to the marriage. Five years later at age 66, Norman passed at the Memorial Hospital in Center, Texas of pneumonia on November 20, 1974.
Funeral services were held Friday, November 22 at the Bartle Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Roy Wallace officiating. Burial followed in Oaklawn Memorial Park, Center, Shelby County, Texas. Survivors were; wife, Darlene; five sisters, Mrs. Annie Sanford of Centers, Mrs. Ludie Campbell of Bakersville, California, Mrs. Ada Lynch of Odessa, Texas, Mrs. Vada Hughes of San Angelo, Texas and Mrs. Beatrice Hickle of San Angelo, Texas; two stepdaughters, Mrs. Kay Emery of Fort Worth, Texas and Mrs. Due DuPuy of Fort Worth, Texas; three stepsons, Dennis Freeman of Center, Donald Freeman of Rangley, Maine and James Freeman of Fort Worth, Texas.
Private Norman Jackson Smith answered the call to duty. Day is done, God is nigh.