Smoky’s Story

Clarence “Smoky” Ambrose worked in industrial sites including power houses and refineries in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, where he regularly handled asbestos-containing products. The jobs he had during his 42-year career did not provide protection from asbestos exposure. Decades later, Smoky received a devastating diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Smoky passed away less than a month after his cancer diagnosis, leaving behind his wife Mary, their adult children and many beloved grandchildren. Smoky’s family honors his legacy by participating in the annual Miles for Meso event, keeping his spirit alive.


Asbestos Exposure as a Veteran & Union Member

Smoky was a proud U.S. Army veteran who served during the Korean War. Unfortunately, all branches of the U.S. military used asbestos throughout the 20th century, and Smoky was one of many veterans who may have been exposed to this toxic mineral while serving their country.

Smoky later became an active member of the Heat & Frost Insulators Local 37 in Evansville, Indiana. His job as an insulator put him in daily contact with pipe and block insulation, asbestos cement, refractory products and other materials that contained asbestos.

When these products are disturbed or damaged, microscopic asbestos fibers may be released into the air, putting nearby workers at risk of breathing in or swallowing them. These fibers irritate healthy tissues, which may potentially lead to the development of cancer cells.

Since symptoms of mesothelioma can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to appear, Smoky wasn’t diagnosed until 2008. He was 79 years old.

A Retirement Cut Short

For over 50 years, Smoky and his wife Mary shared a journey of love and commitment as they raised their three children and spent time with their grandchildren. Family was undeniably at the center of Smoky’s life.

In his well-deserved retirement, Smoky held a deep appreciation for life’s simple joys. He enjoyed playing a local card game called Clabber with friends and family, and he spent time tending to his garden, where he could immerse himself in the beauty of nature.

As a lifelong sports fan, Smoky also spent many afternoons watching athletic events. While a basketball and baseball player in his earlier days, Smoky later became a dedicated spectator. However, his greatest source of joy came from attending his grandchildren’s sports games.

When Smoky became sick, his mind immediately went to his family’s well-being. He encouraged his son Jeff to find a mesothelioma law firm that would be able to help them.

Tragically, Smoky passed away just a few weeks after he found out he had mesothelioma.

His family chose to honor his wishes and file a lawsuit on his behalf.

“His desire for us was to not sit still and to pursue a wrongful death suit.”
Jeff Ambrose, Son of Smoky

Holding Asbestos Companies Accountable

Many asbestos companies knew their products could cause mesothelioma, but they hid this information from the public in order to protect their profits.

“Mesothelioma is a preventable cancer that never had to happen to anyone. The dangers of asbestos were known to these companies for decades, and they did nothing to inform or protect people.”
Melissa Crowe Schopfer, Firm Partner

As a result, millions of Americans were put at risk of developing this rare and aggressive form of cancer.

“It’s unfortunate companies weren’t forthcoming to help protect my dad during his journey,” Jeff said. “My dad left my life earlier than he should have, and with prior knowledge about asbestos, he could have protected himself and lived his life longer with us.”

Patients and families impacted by mesothelioma may be able to file an asbestos lawsuit to hold these companies accountable for their actions and seek compensation for medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses.

After Smoky’s passing, Jeff contacted Simmons Hanly Conroy. He knew that his dad’s last wish was for his family to be taken care of, and with the help of his legal team, Jeff was able to see this wish become a reality.

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The Simmons Hanly Conroy Difference

Simmons Hanly Conroy is committed to supporting the mesothelioma community by raising awareness about this disease, funding research efforts and honoring the warriors who have fought against this disease.

“They’re not just here to represent you,” Jeff explained. “They’re looking for cures, they donate to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and they’re trying to help families through this unfortunate situation that’s not right.”

Our mesothelioma lawyers strive to make the legal process as stress-free as possible for our clients and their families. As your legal team prepares and files your claim, our nurses on staff can help clients learn about support groups and treatment options.

“It was a pleasure working with Simmons Hanly Conroy, especially Melissa,” Jeff noted. “She worked very closely with me, answered every question and was totally available. I appreciated her kindness and authenticity.”

Remembering Smoky at Miles for Meso

In 2009, Simmons Hanly Conroy founded Miles for Meso, a 5k walk/run dedicated to raising money for mesothelioma research and honoring mesothelioma warriors and their families.

Jeff and his wife Pam travel from Indiana to Illinois each year to attend the flagship Miles for Meso event at the firm’s headquarters in Alton. They wear shirts honoring Smoky and find joy in reflecting on his legacy while also connecting with other families impacted by mesothelioma.

“It’s just so wonderful that Simmons Hanly Conroy puts on this event to allow people to come together, speak with each other and understand their own pain,” Jeff said. “We’re all dealing with what has been brought upon us, and that is the unfortunate diagnosis of mesothelioma.”

Since it started, Miles for Meso has raised over $925,000 for mesothelioma research and asbestos awareness groups, including the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. There are races held in 11 different states across the country, with virtual attendees joining nationwide.

“My dad died unlawfully. I love my dad, we run for my dad and we appreciate what Simmons Hanly Conroy has done for us,” Jeff expressed. “I appreciate that they’re trying to help the people that have been diagnosed to gain more life with their loved ones.”

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Help for Families Impacted by Mesothelioma

Smoky’s loved ones continue to find joy in their memories of him — but they don’t want any other families to have to go through the pain that comes with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

As a national mesothelioma law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy has the resources and experience to help families like Smoky’s who have been affected by mesothelioma.

They’ve been a very easy law firm to work with, and they have your best interests in mind,” said Jeff.

While it’s impossible to prepare for a mesothelioma diagnosis, our team can provide support and assistance during the uncertainty that follows. Filing a mesothelioma claim can help pay for medical bills, burial expenses, lost wages and more.

Call (800) 326-8900 now to learn more about how we may be able to help you and your family.

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Simmons Support Team
Simmons Hanly ConroyWritten by:

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The Simmons Hanly Conroy Editorial Team consists of journalists, writers and editors who strive to deliver accurate and useful information to families needing legal help. Our team works alongside the firm's attorneys and partners, as well as with medical professionals and other specialists, to keep all information relevant and helpful.