Donald Miller Smith, 88, of The Villages went home to be with the Lord on Friday, October 11, 2019, at Ocala Regional Medical Center with his family at his side. He was loved by all and led by example and demonstrated that integrity is more than what you say, it is what you do.
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Born in rural Hodge, Louisiana, on November 22, 1930, one year after the Great Depression began, and like so many of his generation Don grew up knowing that complaining was pointless; that there is virtue in hard work; and that character matters. From the earliest days as a shoeless boy, he worked hard – delivering newspapers, collecting coke bottles, and doing anything else he could to support the cause. Through it all he developed a lifetime of callouses on his feet, and integrity in his soul, and a legendary stubbornness of character, proving the truth of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Growing up when Don did, and where he did in that tiny little town, also placed him a few doors down from Elsie Mae Maxwell. They grew up knowing each other all their lives, and eventually surrendered to God’s plan for them just after she turned 18 and just before he turned 20. Don and Elsie remained as one for the next 69 years.
Along the way, Don served his country as a Staff Sergeant for the Air Force during the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge, he and Elsie worked for a few years before Elsie convinced him (he would say he “decided”) to get his degree in electrical engineering at LSU. His first job out of school was at the prestigious Bell Laboratories, and he worked for the Bell system until he retired in the early 90’s, whereupon, he and Elsie moved to The Villages to remain active and enjoy life. Don and Elsie attended First Baptist Church of Leesburg and served in the Campus Ministries for many years.
He and Elsie adopted three children God placed in their path – Roger, Miriam and Paul. True to his character, he attended seemingly every ball game, recital, and awards program they did. He taught his children about the love of Christ every day by training them up in the way they should go. He led by example by serving as a deacon and a Sunday School teacher at church. Don enjoyed traveling, playing games, telling jokes, but mostly he loved his family.
Don is survived by his loving spouse of 69 years, Elsie Mae Smith; children, Roger Smith (Sheila) of Niceville, FL, Miriam Davis (Steve) of Pelahatchie, MS, and Paul Smith of Atlanta, GA, grandchildren, Sarah Skipper (Corey), Niceville, FL, Ryan Smith, McKinney, TX, Lauren and Jonathan Davis, Pelahatchie, MS, Avery Grace, Lila, and Nathan Smith of Atlanta, GA; great grandson, Wyatt Skipper of Niceville, FL; and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Kelcy and Dolly Smith, and sister, Janice (Morrow) Long.
Visitation will be held at Beyers Funeral Home, Lady Lake, FL on Monday, October 21, 2019, starting at 10:00 a.m. followed by the service at 11:00 am. A graveside service will take place at the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL at 1:00 pm.
Memorials are suggested to the Men’s Ministry (https://www.christiancarecenter.org) of First Baptist Church of Leesburg.
Arrangements entrusted to Beyers Funeral Home and Crematory, Lady Lake, FL