Thomas Smith

All future services will be announced shortly. Please feel free to visit Tom's tribute wall to share a condolence or memory with his family.

Obituary of Thomas P. Smith

Thomas P. Smith, 77, of Hightstown, NJ passed away on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Tom was the son of the late Charles F. Smith and Marie (Moltzen) Smith. He was raised in West New York, NJ where he attended St. Joseph's of the Palisades Boys High School. He graduated from Rutgers University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Science and earned a Master's degree from Rowan University. Tom devoted his life to science and environmental education. He began his career at the Conservation and Environmental Studies Center in Whitesbog, NJ in 1972 where he met his wife, Gayle Henkin. He continued his work teaching science in public schools. He worked at Montgomery Township and West Windsor-Plainsboro High Schools. He was science department chair at Hightstown High School and completed his work in the public schools by serving as K-12 Supervisor of Science and Gifted and Talented Education in East Brunswick Schools for nearly 20 years.


Following his retirement, he worked for the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. Tom was past-president of the New Jersey Science Teachers Association and served as treasurer for many years. He was on the steering committee of the New Jersey Science Convention and worked with the New Jersey Department of Education on implementing the Next Generation Science Standards in the state. Tom was selected for the first cohort of New Jersey teachers by the Geraldine Dodge Foundation to study tropical rainforests in Panama. This initial group grew into the NJ Teachers of Biodiversity. He was instrumental, along with Rutgers Medical School, in obtaining a large grant for East Brunswick from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to increase student knowledge about neuroscience.


He was an initial member of the steering committee that eventually developed the Waksman Student Scholars program that engaged students in cutting edge molecular biology. Tom championed Citizen Science that utilized the work of ordinary people to gather data on important issues. He participated in the Streamwatch program of The Watershed for more than twenty years, monitoring water quality in Peddie Lake in Hightstown. He also assisted the staff of the NJ Audubon Society in surveying populations of grassland birds in the state as well as the Harbor Herons that breed in the Hudson River estuary.


In addition to his parents, Tom was predeceased by his brother, Philip and infant brother, Charles. He is survived by his wife Gayle, son Nathaniel and his spouse Emily Penick. He is also survived by his sister, Karen Smith, his brother, James Smith and his partner Pauline Rota, his brother-in-law Merrill Henkin, and several nieces.


Friends and Colleagues are invited to join a sharing of remembrances via Zoom on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 5:00 pm EST, Sunday, June 9, 2024 at 5:00pm EST and Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 5:00pm EST.  For information regarding the Zoom link please contact Simplicity Funeral and Cremation Services at Glackin Chapel for access to the link to join the sharing of remembrances.  

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