GRANITE BAY — Flowers and a warning now mark the Ka’anapali beach where a 65-year-old Granite Bay man died Saturday after he was attacked by a shark.
Dr. Thomas Smiley’s wife, Gale, just got home from Hawaii Sunday and friends told FOX40 she’s still in shock.
“Fantastic guy, just a great guy. You couldn’t help but love him,” said friend Neil Roszkowski.
Smiley had been vacationing Hawaii for about two weeks with his wife.
He was out swimming 60 yards from shore when the attack happened.
“His wife called me Saturday, said that he’d been attacked by a shark and he didn’t make it, those were her exact words,” said Dr. Gary Taxera. “I had to sit down, I couldn’t believe what she told me.”
Taxera said Smiley was his very best friend. They met more than 40 years ago at the University of California, Berkley while studying optometry.
“Just full of life, happy, loving, kind, incredibly intelligent and he was very giving. He was a rare kind of person you could call your friend,” he told FOX40.
He said Smiley had just retired in January from his optometry practice, Sacramento Contact Lenses. Smiley was looking forward to traveling with his wife and spending time with his three children and six grandchildren.
“They did an awful lot together, whether it be on the water or car-related things, car racing things,” Taxera said.
Friends are now shifting their focus to helping the family cope, especially Dr. Smiley’s wife and high school sweetheart.
“She’s devastated. A situation like this, it’s overwhelming. You’re in shock,” Taxera said.
“He will be deeply missed,” Roszkowski said.
Investigators are working to figure out what kind of shark attacked him.
This is the third shark attack in Hawaii so far this year.