ribbon R.I.P. Thomas J. Smerke gone home


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Troop 72 Alumni Association
 Former members of
Boy Scout Troop 72
Overlook Hills, Pennsylvania

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Troop 72 founded
April 16, 1934                                        Please join Alumni Association Mail List today!
last update 7/14/2012   

Troop 72 Alumni Association
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Troop 72 Camp Delmont 1952

Troop 72 The First Quarter Century (1934-1959)
Troop 72 The Second Quarter Century (1960-1984)
Troop 72 The Third Quarter Century (1985-2009)
Troop 72 Eagle Scouts
Cradle of Liberty Council, B.S.A.
Unami Lodge No. 1 Order of the Arrow
Delmont Lodge No. 43 Order of the Arrow
Treasure Island Scout Reservation
Delmont Scout Camp
Resica Falls Scout Reservation
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Troop 72 Photo Albums

In Memoriam Troop 72 Scoutmaster Thomas J. "Tom" Smerke

NOTE: So many wonderful letters about Tom have come in if you give us permission we will post on his TRIBUTE PAGE. We also have created a Tom History Page with some additional pictures and images from the funeral.

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing on July 13, 2012, of our beloved Troop 72 Scoutmaster Tom Smerke from injuries sustained in an accident while walking in his neighborhood. 

Services were held on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, 2119 Old Welsh Road, Abington at 10 a.m..

This biography from his receipt of the "Abington Citizens That Care” award.

Thomas J. Smerke, a lifelong resident of Abington Township, is a 1958 graduate of Abington High School. Tom’s is truly an Abington family as his brother, John, and sisters Phyllis Croke and Barbara Endres all graduated form Abington in 1949, 1951, and 1959, respectively. Tom’s ties to Abington ran true from his beginnings at Overlook Elementary School, through Abington Junior High School, and finally to Abington High School. His professional life was also spent in this community at Penn State Abington, formerly know as the Penn State Ogontz Campus. There he served as Postmaster of the campus and as an instructor. In fact, he ran a bike club and taught courses in bike repair and safety. In addition, he directed the Outing Club, taking students on a wide variety of trips. Tom retired from Penn State University in the mid 1990s.

Tom is well known for his many years as the exemplary Scoutmaster of one of the nation’s outstanding Boy Scout troops, Troop #72 in Overlook Hills. This troop is one of the Scouting movement’s leaders in producing Eagle Scouts and is renowned for its camping, canoeing, and biking expeditions.

During his 40-year tenure as Scoutmaster, Tom was named the “1982 National Scout Master of the Year.” Previously, in 1972, he was honored with the “Order of Merit” for Outstanding Service to Scouting. In 1996, he received a Congressional Certificate to commemorate, at that point, his 35 years of service to Scouting.

In 1983 Tom was named “Chief Ogontz” for his service to Penn State University. He also received the “Vigil Honor” in the “Order of the Arrow” for his Scouting work. He has authored the Eagle Scouting Guidebook and other scouting publications throughout his tenure. These are but a few of the many community and service awards for his outstanding record in Scouting. This gentleman is also among the leaders in the Boy Scouts of America for the number of Eagle Scouts produced during his career of Scoutmaster of Troop #72.

Tom could very well be named “Mr. Overlook Hills” as his residence and devotion to the many boys and young men who passed through Troop #72 have led him to be recognized throughout that community as well as greater Abington Township. He has stated that he is proud to be part of our broader community. He related that his boy scouting experiences and reduced eyesight led him toward community service. He attributes Abington’s strengths to the cooperative collaboration of many adults combined with a strong base of outstanding youth. He truly believes that Abington is one of America’s “100 Best Communities.”

Beyond his amazing scouting career, Tom was instrumental in ensuring that the Roychester Community House continued to be run by the neighborhood Board of Managers and serve as a focus for a wide variety of community activities. He was always willing to provide a financial base to help launch community projects, such as the mid 1980’s playground renovation in Overlook Hills and park beautification projects over the years. Tom is probably one of the community’s earliest and strongest proponents of bike helmets; no rider ever rode with or departed from Tom without wearing one! A major project of interest to the entire community was Tom’s work in the restoration of the magnificent pipe organ in Glenside’s Keswick Theatre. As with so many of the projects he undertook, Tom used this one as well to involve his boys. He believed in taking every opportunity to keep kids off the street and they then learn skills that might prepare them for jobs. Many also know Tom as a wise friend and counselor to parents and children during difficult times.

Tom continues to be a visionary and would like to see the many community projects which are underway brought to fruition. To this he adds, “New visions must arise and be considered and implemented. We must continue to expand the educational base and our youth groups. All of these combine to provide a safe and caring community.” Tom also believes that we must recognize our heritage and community efforts toward our youth so that they can develop into responsible citizens.

NOTE: Please consider supporting Tom's current project the Honor Garden described below...


Honor Garden


Dear Scouts,  Former Scouts,  and  Neighbors  --

      As you may remember,  the former head of Scouting in Abington  (Troop 72)
is Tom Smerke.  Months ago he proposed the idea of constructing an outdoor
display that would recognize the effort and sacrifice made by the past and present
members of our military.  It would be located  at the flag pole in front of the Com-
munity House at Roychester Park ,  and be called the Garden of Honor.  (You may
view some photos and other material on this website to gain an understanding of
how it will look and details of the project.)     In typical leadership fashion ,   he
enlisted the help of me and others,  and co-ordinated the plans with  Abington
Township officials.   This memorial has been approved by the commissioners.
We are now in the phase of reaching out to people and businesses in the area for
financial and other types of support.  For me,  it is an important project that I want
to support,  because it represents  the effort and sacrifice that others have made
(and that are still being made)  without which I would not have as many freedoms
and rights.   I urge you too to support the Garden of Honor.

      George Kraynak

original fundraising ideas
Progress as of 6-23-2012  

fill out form here and send to:

Roychester Community House Garden of Honor
Gary Koch, Treasurer
2028 Chester Avenue
Abington, PA 19001

Honor Garden Model




Honor Garden Flagpole


In Memorian Troop 72 ASM Fred Bauerle

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Troop 72 Assistant Scoutmaster and retired Abington Township Officer Fred Bauerle.  Fred began his career in Abington on April 30, 1962 and retired after 29 years of service in April 1991.  He served as a member of the Patrol Division for his entire career where he was widely recognized for his expertise in Motor Vehicle Law.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. His son David is a Troop 72 Eagle Scout.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at the Grace Presbyterian Church, 444 York Road, Jenkintown at 10 a.m..  The family will greet visitors after the service.

The family is asking in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in Fred's memory to either of the following organizations:

Bryn Mawr Hospital
(ATTN: Development Office Prostate Cancer Support Group First Floor)
130 South Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
BSA Troop 72
3635 Reineger Road
Hatboro, PA 19040

This is for all whose lives have been enriched by your years in Troop 72

Do you remember: troop meetings - weekend camping trips - summers at Delmont and Resica Falls - camporees - bike hikes - digging latrines - ghost stories - skits - singing - cheers ?

Do you remember those leaders who gave so much to help shape our lives ... Tom Smerke, Jim Webb and the multitude of others who gave their time, effort, guidance and, most of all, their caring throughout the years.

Well, folks, the troop that was so much a part of our youth is still around and thriving under the leadership of SM Glenn Arizini and the Troop 72 Committee. It’s still sponsored by the Roychester Community House, as it has been for over 75 years. 

In preparation for attending the Resica Falls Scouting Reservation 50th Anniversary in 2007, Rick Gorkes, in effect started the alumni organization, to provide us all with a way to share and preserve our memories and experiences.  We’ve been particularly remembering how our lives have been changed in so many ways because we had the good fortune of being guided and trained by the Scouts and Scouters in Troop 72.  It’s time for us to give a little back now.

After the Resica Falls event, which drew a number of out of state Troop 72 Alumni, three successive alumni plans germinated: 1) Attend the Troop 72 75th Anniversary Party to be held in May 2009, 2) Philmont Alumni Trek for Fall 2009 and 3) Tom Smerke Picnic for Fall 2010.

We ran a Yahoo Group for the Philmont Alumni Trek but now wish to expand the circle to all Troop 72 Alumni, friends and family.  You can help by:

  • Sign up to receive mailings from the Troop 72 Alumni Association or send an email. It’s that easy.
  • Spread the word to others.
  • Send us names and contact information for other Troop 72 Scouts we have missed.
  • Send us images and stories to start sharing memories.

We hope one of our Alumni will work with Mr. and Mrs. Draving (Draving Consulting, Inc.) who maintained the Troop 72 website prior to the current one to document and expand the Troop history.  It is a rich and fun history we hope to share on this site.

As of 2010, the following totals have been achieved:

  • 179 Scouts have been awarded the Rank of Eagle.

Please join Alumni Association Mail List today!


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