His favorite job was criminal investigations.
“He could find evidence, but he couldn’t find his pants in the closet,” Carolyn said of her husband of 54 years.
Steven remembers Harry investigating an accident between a bread truck and a train, and using Steven’s toys to re-create the scene at home as he pieced together the evidence.
In 31 years, Harry fired his service revolver twice, but never shot at anyone, Carolyn said. Instead, he used his skills to talk people out of situations, Sabrina said.
Harry also could assume the role of “different characters,” once dressing like a college football scout and talking up Sabrina’s then-high school boyfriend to the other football scouts.
At times, it seemed like the Smiths had their roles reversed, with Carolyn the calm, structured presence and Harry the emotional one.
Their different personalities complemented each other and, at times, caused friction.
“I got rather independent because he was gone so much. He didn’t always like that,” Carolyn said. “His glass was half empty. My glass was half full.”
But Harry always was the protector.
“Until he died, I wasn’t afraid in the house with him,” Carolyn said. “I knew he’d go after them. He would forget about being sick.”
Harry liked cooking for the many organizations with which he was involved. Chili, vegetable soup, spaghetti sauce and sweet rolls were some of the foods he could make inexpensively in quantity.
He loved going to the grocery store and always was looking for a bargain, whether at the grocery store or at the mall.
Sabrina said she and her father always had a standing date for an early-morning Black Friday shopping trip, having already mapped out their game plan based on the sales. They then would have breakfast at the J&M Grill in Hagerstown and talk about their great finds, Sabrina said.
Amy said Harry would buy and collect commemorative coins and was influential in teaching good spending habits to his children, encouraging them to avoid debt and pay off their mortgages.
“We all need that little bit of Harry — loud, bold, aggressive,” Amy said. “He was a very deliberate parent. You could choose to take his advice, but you knew what his advice was.”
Harry was known for treating everyone the same. The one time he was asked to fill in for an official at one of Steven’s basketball games, he called a technical foul on his son.
Despite his anger over the call, Steven admitted his father was right.
“He was by far the best basketball coach I had,” Steven said. “He treated everyone fairly. He yelled at the officials, but never yelled at us.”
Education was important in the Smith family, and even though Harry didn’t go to college and Carolyn didn’t earn an associate degree until Amy was in high school, the children knew they were expected to go.
All three earned graduate degrees.
“Our success was his success,” Amy said.
Harry had health issues throughout his life, but always bounced back. Even as his health began to decline more than two years ago due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, they held out hope.
The decision was made to downsize from their Saint James home of 40 years — always a gathering place for friends and family — to one in South Pointe, a move that Harry didn’t live to make.
He died in Carolyn’s arms in the home they had shared for four decades.
“It brings back memories as I go through things,” Carolyn said. “Life is like chapters. This is a new chapter.”