By Kyle Lovern
August 1, 2013
William Thomas (Tom) Smith, beloved father, poppy, friend and unwavering Kentucky Wildcats fan, went on “eternal patrol” Monday, July 29th, following a heroic seven-month battle to recover from a catastrophic spinal injury.
Tom was a native son, and except for four years in the U.S. Navy as a submariner aboard the U.S.S. Guavina, SS 362, he spent his life and times here in the hills surrounding the Tug River. He was a stand-out athlete at Williamson High School, though maybe even better known as the “best-looking” senior in the graduating class of 1952. He went on to graduate with honors from Pikeville College, and pursued a multi-faceted career, including a decade with the Kroger Company, until retirement. Tom was a caring son, trusted brother, loyal friend and ardent sports fan. But it was as a father and grandfather that he really shone, bringing fun, laughter, corny jokes, cool card tricks and unconditional love, affection and acceptance into the lives and hearts of his adored children, grandchildren and a long line of grand puppies.
We are heartbroken and devastated by our loss, but in equal measure joyous and filled with gratitude that we were lucky enough to have called him father, brother, poppy and life-long friend. Tom was born October 23, 1934 at Chattaroy, WV the son of the late William Hubert and Elizabeth Ruth Wells Smith. He was also preceded in death by a brother, David Smith.
Survivors include one daughter, Kathryn Lynn (Eric) Miller of Larsen, WI; one son, Dr. Gary Thomas (Gloria) Smith of Forest Hills, KY; three sisters, Estella Stollings of Geneva, FL, Sandra McDonald of Melbourne, FL and Deby Rudy of Winter Haven, FL; three brothers, Michael Smith of Columbus, OH, Robert “Larry” Smith of Corona, CA and Richard Smith of Statesville, NC; five grandchildren, Michael “Chris” Pepper, Ryan Pepper and Case Pepper all of Raleigh, NC, Cassie Smith and Kimberly Smith both of Williamson, WV; two step grandchildren, Dr. Tiffany Duncan of Forest Hills, KY and Les (Jamie) Todd of Huddy, KY; two step great grandchildren, Brooke and Emily Duncan and a host of other loving family and friends.
Visitation will be Thursday night from 6-9 p.m. at Rogers Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be held Friday, August 2, 2013 at 1 p.m. in the R. E. Rogers Funeral Home Chapel with Rick Gannon of the Borderland Baptist Church officiating. Burial will follow in the Mountain View Memory Gardens, Huddy, Ky. with Michael “Chris” Pepper, Ryan Pepper, Case Pepper, Les Todd, Michael Smith, Eric Miller, Jim Keenan and Paul Manfred Slater serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Mick Smith, Rick Smith, Larry Smith, Jim Wolford, Tyree Kiser and Gary Davis. Belfry Chapter #141 DAV will conduct Military Graveside Services. R. E. Rogers Funeral Home of Belfry is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences at www.rerogersfuneralhome.com.