Terry Smerdel

San Francisco Chronicle - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

Terry Smerdel passed away peace­fully on Septem­ber 10, 2017 while on duty at San Fran­cisco Fire Depart­ment’s Sta­tion 2.

He was born to Terry and Lot­tie Smerdel 59 years ago and is sur­vived by his soul mate Cyndy. Terry was also the lov­ing fa­ther of his two chil­dren Dan­ica and Jack, beloved brother of Tony and sis­ter-in-law Diane, adored brother of Cathy and brother-in-law Harry, and proud grand­fa­ther of Chris­tian. He also leaves be­hind Dan­ica’s hus­band Vince, Jack’s fi­ancé Chris­tine, his nieces Amanda, Amy, and Kayleigh, his nephew Nathan, his Un­cle Roland Quin­tero and the Quin­tero fam­ily, the Stan­away fam­ily, and the count­less com­mu­ni­ties he touched with his boom­ing laugh and giv­ing spirit.

Terry, born in San Fran­cisco in 1958, lived ev­ery day of his life with an in­fec­tious joy. You couldn’t leave a con­ver­sa­tion with­out a smile or giggle, and you couldn’t be in the same room as him and not know it. His life was cen­tered around what he could do for other peo­ple, and gen­eros­ity and kind­ness will for­ever be syn­ony­mous with his name. He never gave up on peo­ple, and his big­gest chal­lenge was telling any­body ‘no’.

Terry grew up on Man­gels Av­enue with some of his old­est and wildest friends. Wild is a key word in Terry’s life. While his years of shenani­gans were more than wild and the sto­ries are left to prove it, he was also wild with hon­esty, love, and em­pa­thy.

When he en­tered the fire depart­ment, fol­low­ing in his fa­ther and brother’s foot­steps, he em­barked on a 26 year long jour­ney of ser­vice. He spent the ma­jor­ity of his ca­reer at Sta­tion 17, then as cap­tain of Truck 2 in Chi­na­town, and lastly at Sta­tion 15. Terry was re­cently pro­moted to Bat­tal­ion Chief at a cer­e­mony sur­rounded by his fam­i­lies the Smerdels, the Maset­tis, and the San Fran­cisco Fire Depart­ment. His evening was made per­fect not by the honor of the pre­sen­ta­tion, but by his in­tro­duc­tion as ‘the good Smerdel.’ Terry was con­stantly bring­ing fam­ily and friends to the fire­house and his fire depart­ment fam­ily painfully mourns his loss as a beloved brother and friend.

Terry was also the suc­cess­ful busi­ness owner of Green Car­pet Land­scap­ing and Main­te­nance. Known for his in­tegrity, Terry al­ways kept his word. Yes, he might have been late, but he al­ways got it done. He worked hard his en­tire life, in­spired his chil­dren to pur­sue what they care about, and built the love, hap­pi­ness, and se­cu­rity that sur­rounds his fam­ily.

His faith shined brightly each week at St. Robert’s Par­ish. His mem­ory lives on through each prayer he led and through each con­fir­ma­tion class he taught in such per­sonal and touch­ing ways.

From golf­ing monthly with his best friends to win­ning weightlift­ing com­pe­ti­tions back in the day, Terry has al­ways been an ac­tive and en­er­getic soul. He es­pe­cially loved fish­ing and hunt­ing with his friends, a loyal pack who re­turned year af­ter year with the prom­ise of ci­gars and a good time. Terry spent his win­ters sit­ting in his waders in duck blinds right next to his brother and best friend Tony, his hunt­ing part­ner for over 45 years.

Speak­ing of sib­lings, Terry and Tony did most things side by side in­clud­ing watch­ing af­ter their sis­ter Cathy. Terry would harshly in­spect and per­haps scare each of her boyfriends. And when he wasn’t do­ing that, he’d be sure to ei­ther ask her to get the milk or tell her how proud of her he truly was.

All of the com­mu­ni­ties that Terry touched only be­gin to il­lus­trate his bound­less love. His fam­ily was the cen­ter of his uni­verse. Cyndy Smerdel is the woman that turned a bad boy into a lov­ing hus­band, and their un­con­di­tional love built a trust only few ever ex­pe­ri­ence. He was her Dis­ney­land, her hap­pi­est place on earth. Dan­ica, Terry’s first born, was his pride and joy. He pro­tected her with his whole heart, and left this world know­ing she is in the very best of hands with a fam­ily of her own. Jack, Terry’s son, was far more than a son to him. Jack was his best friend. Terry would sing loudly as Jack played the pi­ano, he’d smile proudly as he coached Jack’s teams, and he’d cheer loudly as they toured the coun­try watch­ing ma­jor league base­ball games.

It’s clear that Terry was taken far too soon. How­ever, we move for­ward know­ing how aware he was of ev­ery sin­gle bless­ing in his life. He left this world the hap­pi­est he had ever been, which is fit­ting since he made all of our days brighter, all of our smiles wider, and all of our lives just that much hap­pier.

Visi­ta­tion will be­gin Mon­day, Septem­ber 18 at 6:00pm at St Robert’s Church, 1380 Crys­tal Springs Rd. San Bruno, fol­lowed by the Rosary Vigil at 7:00. The Funeral Mass will be on Tues­day, Septem­ber 19 at 10:00am at St. Ig­natius Church, 650 Parker Ave. San Fran­cisco. Com­mit­tal will fol­low im­me­di­ately at Holy Cross Ceme­tery, 1500 Mis­sion Rd. Colma.

Do­na­tions may be made in mem­ory of Bat­tal­ion Chief Terry Smerdel, San Fran­cisco Fire­fight­ers Can­cer Pre­ven­tion Foun­da­tion, 1139 Mis­sion St., San Fran­cisco, CA 94103, www. sf­fcpf.org.

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