Jack E. 'Sheriff' Smith

Jul 24, 2013


HAZELWOOD — Jack E. “Sheriff” Smith of Hazelwood passed away Monday, July 22, 2013.

He was born in Hazelwood June 4, 1918.  He was predeceased by his loving wife of 59 years, Mrs. Rhoda Clark Smith and his parents, Mrs. Vicie Russell Smith and Mr. Billie Smith.  He is survived by his children: Theadus Ann Smith Higginbotham (Jim) of Columbia, Maryland; Zeta Kaye Smith (O’Neal Shelton) of Mars Hill; Lana Smith of Richmond, Virginia and Stuart Smith (Donna) of Maryville, Tennessee.  His survivors also include his grandchildren Ashley Higginbotham Holmberg (Eric) of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania; Rob Higginbotham (Sharon) of Laurel, Maryland; Misses Hannah and Emilee Smith of Maryville, Tennessee; two great-grandsons, Jack and Ryan Higginbotham of Laurel, Maryland and many loving extended family members and friends.

Jack grew up in Hazelwood and graduated from Waynesville Township High School where he excelled in all sports. At the age of 14, he was recruited to play on the local men’s baseball team.  He went on to play industrial league baseball and was recruited by the Boston Red Sox, but World War II intervened.

He joined the National Guard in 1939 in order to play basketball. His unit Company H, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division – “Old Hickory” was called to active duty in September of 1940 and sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The 30th was primarily responsible for training other soldiers. They participated in Ranger training in Florida, Tennessee and Indiana.  When he was off duty, he played baseball, basketball and boxed for the Army.

In February 1944, the 30th was deployed to England to continue intensive training in preparation for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The 30th Division participated in the invasion of Normandy, as well as other major battles at St. Lo, Mortain, the Siegfried Line and the Battle of the Bulge.

Among other commendations, he earned the Combat Infantry Badge; the EAMET Campaign Medal with four bronze stars and the American Defense Medal. The 30th Division has been considered the number one division on the European front during World War II.  Jack was extremely proud of the record of the 30th Division and was honored to have served his country.

Following World War II, he used the G.I. Bill to go to plumbing school in Kansas City, Missouri.  He went on to become a plumbing superintendant for some international contracting companies and worked in a number of states.

Rhoda was always by his side loving and supporting him while they moved about the country. He loved his family, his friends, all sports, his roosters, history and keeping up with current events.

A celebration of Jack’s life will be held Saturday, July 27, at Garrett’s Funeral Home, 460 N. Main St., Waynesville. The family will receive friends from 1 to 3 p.m.  The funeral service will begin at 3 p.m. Family friends the Rev. Johnny Swanger and Minister Dolph Allen will officiate. Music will be by the Rev. Barry Woods and personal remembrances by Col. J. R. (Jeff) Sanderson (retired).

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion Post 47, Veterans Oil Plan, P.O. Box 911, Waynesville, N.C. 28786 or The Mountaineer Little League, P.O. Box 76, Waynesville, N.C.  28786.