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Smith, Richard Donald

Smith, Richard Donald

From the Hickory neighbors: Obituaries for June 30 series
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February 11, 1944 - June 22, 2020 Richard Donald Smith, 76, of Conover, passed peacefully at his residence with his beloved wife at his side, Monday, June 22, 2020, after a short and difficult battle with lung cancer. He was born Feb. 11, 1944, in Lebanon, Va., to the late Lewis Smith and Mary Emaline Minton Gurley. He was preceded in death by three siblings, Silven "Pete" Hay, Billy Earl Hayes, and Thelma "Pat" Herman. Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 32 years and primary caregiver, Celeste Brindell Smith of the home; son, Richard Todd Smith; grandson, Richard Devin Smith; sister-in-law, Linda Sumter Hayes; three nieces, Anita Herman Miller and husband, Keith, Terri Herman Pierce and Becky Herman McNeil; nephew, Lt. Col. Chad Hayes and wife, Vicky; father-in-law and mother-in-law, John and Betty Brindell; sisters-in-law, Jean Brindell Bennett and husband, Philip and Dr. Gail Brindell (Major, Retired, USAR) and son, Christopher "Chris" John Orrin. Don shared close bonds with family members through his military background, his love for basketball and golf, and especially his birthdate of Feb. 11, with his nephew, Chris. He also leaves behind his beloved and spoiled canine pal, Baxter. Don's family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Polly Townsend for her assistance in caring for Don and his home during his time of illness. Not only was she his "side-kick" employee but she was a dear friend to him and has been a true blessing to his wife during this difficult time. Don was a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Army Commendation and Vietnam Service Medals. As a true American Patriot, he was rarely seen not wearing one of his "many" Veteran hats or USA ballcaps. He loved church, gospel music and his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He grew up attending Winkler's Grove Baptist Church in Hickory, and over the years accompanied relatives for services at West Hickory Baptist Church. More recently, Don became a member of Oxford Baptist Church (OBC) in Conover. He dearly loved his OBC family, especially Barton Grant and Pastor Joel Frye whom to Don, were more like a "son" and "brother", respectively. He graduated from Hickory High School in 1962, and was a dedicated attendee of the school's basketball program and local conference games. As a loyal fan of Lenoir-Rhyne University athletics, he was a longtime member of "The Bears Club". He always sat in the end zone seats during football season, and his love and knowledge of basketball made him a great friend and admirer of Coach Sullivan. Don enjoyed attending the games alongside his "6th Man Club" buddies. He was also a big NC Tarheels fan! Everyone viewed Don as an avid golfer. You could bet that every time he pulled the putter back, the ball was going in! He never missed a year as a distribution volunteer for the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. He genuinely loved the game of golf both as a player and a spectator. He especially loved attending the 2000 Masters Tournament. Don was owner and operator of Smith Service Contractor for well over 40 years. He was very dedicated and worked hard right up to the day of his illness on April 23, 2020. He was a smart businessman and could work his way through any size project and always produced quality results. He contracted business from various general contractors throughout the Carolinas doing industrial, commercial, and residential cleaning and pressure washing. Matthews Construction family held a special place in his heart. He could not drive through a city without passing buildings he worked on and that always made him smile. He would always say, "I might run a small operation, but I perform really big"! Don was full of life and always flamboyant, never leaving the house without coordinating his hats and shoes to his outfits. He was partial to wearing neon colors that were as bright as his huge smile which complimented his trademark handlebar mustache. His positive impression left on others earned him many nicknames such as "Donnie", "Smitty", "Don Juan", and "Boss Man". Don was a beloved husband and family man and a wonderful friend and mentor to so many people. He never hesitated to offer his assistance to others in times of need. He will truly be missed by all! A celebration of life will be held Friday, July 24, at Oxford Baptist Church in Conover with Pastor Joel Frye officiating. The time of service will be announced at a later date. Military funeral honors and burial in the church cemetery will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Catawba County; Carolina Caring Foundation; Lung Cancer Foundation of America; and Oxford Baptist Church, 5965 Springs Rd., Conover, NC 28613.

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