World War II Veteran, and Purple Heart recipient, Raymond Walter Smith, 97, formerly of Gainesville, died on Father’s Day, June 21, following a lengthy illness.
Smith fought in the famous Battle of the Bulge and was proud of his service to his country and of the Purple Heart awarded him for his bravery. A proud moment for him in his later life was to travel with his son and daughter across Europe, revisiting places where he served.
A native of Nahunta, GA., Smith moved to Gainesville following his military service where he was in the real estate and glass business. In the fifties he remodeled many of the buildings located on the square, including Frierson’s Men Store and Gem Jewelry; he also remodeled and built more than 50 homes in the greater Gainesville area.
A charter member of Lakewood Baptist Church, Smith was the contractor for the building of the first church located on Thompson Bridge Road. He served as a deacon and was active in his Sunday School Class. He was also a member of the Gainesville Optimist Club.
An active and enthusiastic man, he did not retire until his eighties, staying involved in real estate. He always had a joke to tell or a story to share. He was proud of his family and their success.
Smith was preceded in life by his wife of 71 years, Kathleen Stephens Smith; mother, Mamie Elizabeth Smith; father, Samuel Spencer Smith; daughter, Susan Diane Smith; sister, Gladys S. Morgan; brothers, Enoch Smith and Jack Smith.
He is survived by his daughter, Susan Raye Smith, Gainesville; son, Raymond W. Smith, Jr., Phoenix, AZ; grandson, Ryan Stephen Brooks, Rainier, OR; several nieces and nephews.
A private graveside service is planned for the near future. He would have appreciated contributions to one’s favorite charity.