Identity mix-up results in Sanger man being mistaken for dead - Dallas News |

Identity mix-up results in Sanger man being mistaken for dead

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A North Texas man was recently told he was dead, and his bank even returned his social security check.

Shocked and shaken, the elderly Sanger man is now trying to convince the government he's alive.

William Earl Smith, 81, goes by Bill, and he and his dog, Mr. Baxter live in Sanger.  

On Christmas Day, Smith got some disturbing news -- Meals on Wheels workers told him that they'd learned he was dead from an obituary.

"She kept looking and said directly, ‘Oh, oh!  You're on here deceased,'" said Smith.

After clearing up the confusion, Meals on Wheels workers brought Smith a meal and what they thought was "his" obituary.

"Well, it was a little bit of a shock, but I knew I was still walking around," said Smith.

Not long afterward, Smith's found out that his social security check had been returned.

Smith comes from a long line of Earls, and he had been confused with a man who shared the same exact name.

"He was actually William Earl Smith," said Smith. "Mine's William Earl Smith, my dad was Earl Smith, and his dad was Earl Smith."

Smith says the first time something like this happened was when he was stationed in Korea. 

"I was actually mixed up with another guy that was William Earl Smith, and I like to have got sent to the wrong place."

Neighbors are happy Smith is still around.

"The government can mess things something up in five minutes and it'll take them, six months to fix it, if they ever fix it," said Smith's neighbor, Ray Deborde.

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