Henry Smith Is Not Whitey Bulger

MARCH 2006 - Received Visit From FBI - There's a $1 million reward for a lead that would result in the capture of James "Whitey" Bulger, but none of Henry Smith's neighbors will be collecting it.

Acting on a tip, supposedly from a neighbor, FBI agents went to Smith's home this past December to see if he was in fact Whitey Bulger. This was a look-alike tip, and the FBI, embarrassed ever since Bulger went on the run in 1995, are leaving no stone unturned.

Smith was home with his home-care nurse when the FBI agents flashed their badges and asked to step inside. One agent guarded the door while the other asked questions. He must have passed the test because Smith said, "The guy turned around and left."

When interviewed by the Boston Herald and asked of his reaction to the visitors, Smith simply said, "Actually, none." He'd grown up in Brighton, and he said "I'm used to handy cops." But these were not local handy cops, since Needham police were not notified by the FBI that they would be in town checking the possibility that a man on their Top 10 Most Wanted list might be right under their nose.

"Although the Herald ran photos of Henry and Bulger side-by-side I couldn't see the resemblance," said Association President Ralph White who visited Smith shortly after the incident. "I can't believe that any neighbor would have contacted the FBI," said Smith's wife Jeanette. "But we'll never know who made such a mistake,"

"There's a lot of people looking to make an easy $1 million," said White. "But I'd rather talk about the Henry Smith that I've known for the past 35 years."

 

Smith, 74, and now in ill health, requires lengthy dialysis three times a week and spends most of his time in a wheel chair. He's had a rough time since retiring from the State Treasury and joining our Association in 1992.

During his career, he was a member of then State Treasurer Bob Crane's volunteer musical group, The Treasury Notes, which performed at nursing homes, veterans' hospitals and numerous charitable events. "Henry was one of the stars of the group. There were about a dozen and they were all talented in one way or another," said White.

"Henry was our George M. Cohan specialist," said Bob Crane who was also pretty good on his feet. "He played Cohan better than Jimmy Cagney, especially when he sang 'Yankee Doodle Dandy'... it was a show stopper.

"Henry had a great sense of humor and must have had a big laugh over the feds checking him out." Crane added that, "Henry is a BC alum and a former president of the Gridiron Club. He's a great guy and we have some wonderful memories."

"In a sense, the Bulger debacle had its upside. It gave us a chance to give Henry a little cheer. He's received several visits and phone calls," said White. "It's so easy to be forgotten, as so many of our members are."

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