Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel passed away peacefully on September 10, 2017, while on duty at San Francisco Fire Department’s Station 2.
Born in San Francisco in 1958, Terry lived every day of his life with an infectious joy. His life was centered around what he could do for other people, and generosity and kindness will forever be synonymous with his name.
When he entered the fire department, following in his father and brother’s footsteps, he embarked on a 26-year 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.
Terry was also the successful business owner of Green Carpet Landscaping and Maintenance. Known for his integrity, Terry always kept his word.
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.
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. Speaking of siblings, Terry also had a wonderful relationship with his sister, Cathy, and they share the same spirit of adventure.
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—her husband, Vince, and Terry’s grandson, Christian. Jack, Terry’s son, was far more than a son to him. Jack was his best friend. Jack married the love of his life, Christine, in February of this year.
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 our days brighter, all our smiles wider, and all our lives just that much happier.