Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
On July 21, 2012, it was my privilege to speak with one of Irving’s most cherished leaders. Here are some things that I learned were important to the late Smoky Eggers (actually Homer M. Eggers), who passed away earlier this week:
His family. Here’s just one example: He glowed with pride as he spoke of his grandson, who in 2004 was “tops in the state at the academic decathlon at Nimitz”;
His medals, won for service in World War II at Okinawa;
The St. Louis Cardinals, a team he supported throughout his life;
His church home at Plymouth Park Baptist;
And, above all, the Boy Scouts of America. He was in his 71st year with the organization when he died. A career in various positions with BSA was followed by several “post-retirement” years with the support group Baptists for Scouting where he helped to raise an endowment for that non-profit.
The author of two Scouting-related books, Eggers spoke proudly of riding with the CEO of the Scouts in Irving’s Independence Day parade. It was a singular honor when one of his books, ‘Eagle Scouts in Action,’ was actively promoted during the 100th anniversary of Scouting. A second book, ‘Friends Around the World’ was more autobiographical.
”Through Scouts, I got to work in all fifty states,” Eggers said. “And I had hundreds of names of friends I’d made.”
Some of those Eagle Scout friends – about 500 of them – had presented Eggers with a plaque in recent years for his service 55 years ago as Director at Camp Old Indian. It prompted Smoky to think about all the stories he could tell – so he decided to go ahead and tell them. He wrote the book during trips with his wife, Inez, to care for her aging mother.
Smoky knew when I interviewed him on July 21 that he was a “short timer”. He and Inez had just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary, he told me, but “my doctor has said this cancer is probably going into my stomach from my esophagus, so unless the good Lord intervenes, I won’t hardly make it to Christmas.”
He got a bit more time than that, actually, a few precious weeks. And when his Maker called him home, Smoky was still making friends for Scouts.