Ben Hill Smartt, age 94, passed away after a brief illness on March 21, 2013. Born August 10, 1918 in Five Points, Alabama, Ben moved to Ripon from Macon Georgia in 1958 with his wife, Grace and their four children.
Ben was a proud WWII Veteran. He joined the Army National Guard in January 1941 at age 22 and trained at various military bases throughout the United States before deployment to Europe in early 1943. After six months training in Ireland, he landed at Normandy, France, on June 10, 1944, “D-Day Plus Four.” Ben served in the infantry as a reconnaissance scout and fought in northern France, where he was wounded in action and taken prisoner. After 42 days as a prisoner of war in Rennes, France, he was rescued by American forces as the German army retreated.
Ben recovered from his wounds in hospitals in France and England, returning stateside in November of 1944 and received an honorable discharge in October 1945. He returned to his family in Macon, Georgia where he met and married his wife, Grace.
For his five years of service to our country, Ben received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the American Defense Service Medal, and the European-African- Middle- Eastern Campaign Medal.
Ben lived in Ripon for 54 years and dearly loved the 10 acres he farmed and the Ripon community. He also thoroughly enjoyed his work remodeling homes and continued to work into his 80’s. The family will remember him for his story telling, his keen observation of politics and his love of sports.
Ben is survived by his children, Susan Smartt and Mary Smartt of Vallejo, Tomoko Doerr of Stockton and John Smartt of Napa; grandchildren Michael Smartt, Allen Giles, David Smartt, Jessica Silva, Daniel Smartt and Mathew Stikes; and niece Holly Germano of Montana. Ben was predeceased by his wife Grace Smartt and his youngest son, Bob Smartt.
A memorial will be held on April 27th at 11:00 at the Atlanta M.E. Cemetery. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be made to the historic Atlanta M.E. Cemetery, 14251 Lone Tree Rd., Escalon, CA 95320.
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Friday, April, 12, 2013