Thomas Smith

Born in Cedar Rapids, IA
Born on Jul 1, 1948
Departed on Jun 27, 2024

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Thomas Vern Smith, a son, brother, father, grandfather, and adventurer at heart, passed away peacefully on June 27th, 2024. Born on July 1st, 1948 in Cedar Rapids to Daphne and Lloyd Smith, Tom was a man of extraordinary spirit who often defied both the odds and the rules. 

He graduated from Washington High School and received his bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College. From an early age, Tom exhibited a thirst for adventure that would define his life's journey. At the age of 21, he hitchhiked across Europe and Northern Africa, worrying his parents to no end. He eventually returned and graduated from the University of Iowa with a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Therapy and dedicated his career to helping those in pain, something he himself understood firsthand from the numerous accidents that resulted from his adventures. “Don’t worry, it’s just my head,” was one of his frequent refrains. He founded the Pain Center at Mercy Hospital, helping patients manage pain through massage, biofeedback and acupressure. He worked independently as a massage therapist for many years with his business, Enhancing Health. At the end of his career, he worked as a case manager for those with addictions and disabilities. His career was dedicated to service to others, informed by another of his favorite mottos, “We’re all bozos on this bus.” 

Tom married Gloria Zmolek in 1976, and they had two children: Nathan and Laurel. He entered marriage unsure if fatherhood was the right choice for a freedom-loving hippie, but eventually decided it was hands down the best decision he ever made. 

Tom is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Julie Smith, of Reinbeck, Iowa, his former wife Gloria, Cedar Rapids, his son, Nathaniel Smith of Buenos Aires, Argentina and his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, Laurel Zmolek-Smith, Joaquín and Sofi of Sofia, Bulgaria. He never let any of us doubt for a moment that he loved us bozos very much. 

The family will have a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa or the Marijuana Policy Project.