Sunshine Notes

Al Smith

Audubon Park - Albert G. Smith, "Al" of Audubon Park, NJ, 76, passed away Wednesday, January 16,
2019. Al was born on December 31, 1942 in Camden, NJ. Beloved son of the late Elsie and William Kane.
Devoted husband of Betty Jean (nee Keyek). Loving father of daughter, Cathy and son, Mike. Beloved
nephew of the late Ervin Kane. Dear brother-in-law of Bernie Keyek, Jean Keyek, and Pat and Greg
Rogalski. Also survived by many loved nieces and nephews. Al served in the Air Force from 1964-1970.
Al was a volunteer with the Audubon Park Volunteer Fire Company, the Chesapeake Chapter of the
U.S.L.H.S., New Jersey Lighthouse Society and the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey.
Once a month he met his fellow PSE&G retirees at a local diner.
Al enjoyed hot air ballooning, visiting lighthouses, and camping with his family.
There will be a Memorial Service on Saturday, January 26th beginning precisely at Noon with the Audubon
Park Fire Company taking Al on his last ride around town followed by the last call. The memorial service
will follow at the Audubon Park Fire Hall, 18 Road C, Audubon Park, NJ 08106.
In Lieu of flowers, we are asking that a donation be made to one of the following groups:
The Glioblastoma Foundation, Chesapeake Chapter U.S.L.H.S., Audubon Park Fire Company, Ronald
McDonald House of Southern New Jersey

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It’s with a heavy heart that we tell you of the passing of a long-time New Jersey
Lighthouse Society member Al Smith on January 16th.
Al was active in many facets of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society including serving
on the Board of Directors, organizing the annual membership photo contest (and
entering many winning photos of his own), volunteering at both the New Jersey
Lighthouse Challenge and Maryland Lighthouse Challenge, and organizing
lighthouse tours around the country with his wife, BJ.

I think he will be remembered most for organizing and training the NJLHS Tour
Guides, who for many years volunteered at Sandy Hook Lighthouse. He led tours
himself and instructed many of us on how to become a knowledgeable tour guides.
His love of lighthouses was infectious! We thank him for all he did for the Society
and the lighthouse community. Our hearts go out to BJ, his family and his friends.

A Memorial for Al Smith will be held on January 26th at noon at the
 Audubon Park Volunteer Fire Co., 18 Road C, Audubon, NJ 08106.
There will be a ceremony by the Fire Department followed by the Memorial.

Doreen Berson

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By Jim and Nancy Cope, NJLHS members since 1991

We were so saddened to hear of the illness and passing of Al Smith, a long-time member, leader, and dedicated
worker for the NJLHS (New Jersey Lighthouse Society), as well as a true friend to lighthouses and lighthouse
enthusiasts. For those of you who did not know Al, his lovely wife BJ, and his family, we would like to share some
of our memories of Al Smith.
Al was a behind-the-scenes member of the NJLHS. At meetings, he would make sure the facility was set up and
cleaned up afterwards, taking care of all the little details that are necessary for the meeting to run smoothly. If
Al saw something that needed to be done, he just did it. He attended Board meetings in all weather, usually
representing Sandy Hook Lighthouse (where many Society members volunteered) and the gift shop there. He
kept excellent financial records of the gift shop and was an asset to the Finance Committee in the preparation of
budgets. Al built the shelves and set up the entire gift shop by himself and ran it for many years. Al carefully
maintained the volunteer roster for gift shop workers, greeters, and LH tour guides, while filling in any vacant
spots himself. Al got such “great deals” on lighthouse merchandise and had it stored on shelves in the basement
of the Keeper’s House. Today, some of these lighthouse items can be found in the gift shop at Finns PointLighthouse.

Many Society members may remember the “fun times” we spent with the Smiths at Sandy Hook when the
Keeper’s House was under restoration. First, we worked from a tent on the lighthouse lawn, which we had to
put up and down each day. The lighthouse and area brochures would constantly be blowing away, and we had to
find rocks to anchor each pile. Then, we moved to the Old Firehouse across the road from the lighthouse. Al set
up the firehouse to make it suitable for visitors. Al then worked with the National Park Service to provide places
for volunteers to stay overnight when working the entire weekend at the lighthouse. This thoughtful effort on
Al’s part made it much more pleasant for us, and made it more convenient for those of us who lived some
distance away. These weekends were all good times. Al and BJ worked very hard to keep the volunteers happy
and well fed. Al prepared and maintained a recognition board, which kept track of our volunteer hours at Sandy
Hook Lighthouse. With permission from the National Park Service, he hung this in the Keeper’s House.

In addition, Al and BJ planned and led day and overnight bus trips for the NJLHS. Our personal favorite was a bus
trip to Nova Scotia. Furthermore, Al spent many hours working on preservation at East Point Lighthouse, and
keeping our society up-to-date with its progress and needs.
Also, Al was an active member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society, where he volunteered in
numerous areas such as membership and preservation. There he spent many hours working with others in the
restoration of lighthouses, most noteworthy, Thomas Point Lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay.
Al was certainly well known in the lighthouse world. Tour guides, such as those at East Quoddy Lighthouse in
New Brunswick, Canada, have seen our Sandy Hook Lighthouse jackets and asked, “Do you know Al Smith? He
has helped us with our projects here.” During his recent illness, Al would still keep in touch and keep us up to
date on items of lighthouse interest.
Our sympathies go out to the entire Smith family at this most difficult time. To Al’s family we can only say,
“Thank you for sharing Al with us and the NJLHS for many years. He touched so many lives with his unending
hours of volunteerism and enthusiasm to preserve lighthouses and make them accessible to visitors. He will not
be forgotten.”

© 2018 NJLHS