Howard R. Smith Railroad conductor

Howard R. Smith, a retired railroad conductor, died Tuesday of an embolism at the Northwest Medical Center.

Mr. Smith, 97, moved from Arlington, Vt., to Catonsville in 1985 to live with a niece. He had retired to Arlington in 1961 after a 41-year career with the New York Central Railroad.


He spent his years with the New York Central as a conductor on the Harlem Division commuter trains that operated out of New York's Grand Central Terminal.

He was born in Katonah, N.Y., and attended schools there through eighth grade. He began his railroading career as a lineman for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. During World War I, he served in the Army and was discharged in 1919.


He enjoyed vegetable gardening at his home in Vermont, caning chairs and reading.

"He was active and mentally alert until a month ago," said Edwina Smith, his niece.

His first wife, the former Eleanor G. Porter, died in 1944. His second wife, the former Fannie Breeze, died in 1985.

He was a member of the Masons for 75 years and of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for many years.

A viewing was set for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Witzke Funeral Home, 1630 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville. A Masonic service was set for 4 p.m. followed by an Episcopal memorial service. Burial will be tomorrow in Patterson, N.Y.

In addition to his niece, he is survived by a son, Howard P. Smith of Sterling, Va.; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 17025, Baltimore 21203.