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Thomas Dale Smedley

November 4, 2020

U.S. Veteran

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Thomas Dale Smedley, of Bedford County, Virginia, died quietly on Wednesday, November 4th. Born in Baden, PA on September 15, 1927, one of five children to Lauretta Swain Smedley and Carl Smedley, Tom had a love of the outdoors and farming. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a Seaman First Class and helmsman on the S.S. Bayfield, a Landing Ship Medium. This military experience enabled him to go to college on the GI Bill, a first for his family.

Tom earned a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Pennsylvania State College and a M.S.  in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh. He worked as a Landscape Design and Field Supervisor in Pennsylvania in the 50’s and as Planning Director for Fairfax and Prince William Counties, Virginia in the 60’s. He served as the Horticulturist for the Crystal City Project and crafted the enabling zoning that made Reston possible. He later worked as the Executive Director for the Roanoke Regional Planning Commission, as the Senior Regional Planner for the Mount Rogers Planning district that covered 22 counties in Southwest Virginia, and as Executive Director for the Central Virginia District Commission. In 1970, Tom made the decision to leave government work to return his first love—farming. He bought apple orchards with a view of the Peaks of Otter and spent many years, “…raising apples, kids and sheep…not necessarily in that order…”.

A devoted husband and father of ten, he was pre-deceased by his wife, Helen Sysyn Smedley and two daughters, Mary and Laura Smedley. He is survived by eight children: Thomas C. Smedley, who was married to his late wife, Vicky King Smedley, F. Mark Smedley and Kim Kruse, Robert C. Smedley and Yvonne Farnell, Katherine E. Smedley and John Nutt, Wayne G. and Kathy Smedley, Olivia and Kevin Lightle, Martha and Larry Anderson, and Suzanne and Joseph Albanese. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren, Greg Smedley, Dorthea Smedley Coblentz, Elizabeth Smedley Thoms, Laura Smedley, Natalie Smedley Lesher, Erik Smedley, Mackenzie Smedley, Alexis Smedley, Michael Smedley, Daniel Smedley, Kelly Lightle Roberge, Samuel Albanese, Matthew Smedley, and Emily Anderson. Four great grandchildren include Mary Adele Coblentz, Elinor Coblentz, River Amelia Lightle Roberge, and Ember Grace Lightle Roberge.

He lived large and cast a long shadow.

A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Bedford with Father Salvador Añonuevo officiating.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford, is assisting the family. To send online condolences please visit

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