Born on October 9, 1926 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was a son of the late Lt. Colonel Homer Smith and Juanita Harper.
He served his country during World War II, enlisting in the United States Navy as a Fireman Second Class on the USS Huntington. After his service, he enrolled in the University of North Carolina, and graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
After college, he worked for Western Electric for several years, then began a long career with Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, climbing through the ranks, beginning as a lineman to retire as an Engineering Supervisor.
He was an athlete, running track and winning an intramural golf championship while at UNC, later winning the Southern Bell Golf Tournament title in Atlanta. He served the youth in his community by coaching Dixie Youth baseball for many years and was respected for his practice of ensuring that everyone played in every game.
An avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping, his handcrafted cedar box turkey calls are prized among his friends and relatives for their quality of sound; his home is filled with examples of his craftsmanship and ingenious solutions to everyday problems. A Civil War buff, he loved to visit the battlefields and remember those who gave their last full measure in that conflict.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Patricia Dean Smith; brothers Charles and Julian, a sister Cindy; his sons Gene Jr and his wife Gina, Mike and his wife Barbie, Steve and his wife Dorothy, as well as his daughter Lindsay Smith-Yancey and her husband Bart Yancey. He is also survived by his five grandchildren: Hunter, Shelby, Joshua, Noah, and Daniel Smith.
A graveside service will be held at 11 o'clock Friday, November 28, 2014, at Bush River Memorial Gardens – 5400 Bush River Road, Columbia, South Carolina.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, or the Alzheimer’s Association.