William Gilbert “Willie” Smith, Jr. of Miami, OK passed from this life Monday, March 1, 2021 at Eastwood Manor in Commerce, OK at the age of 85.
Willie was born October 25, 1935 at Longview, TX to William Gilbert “Gib” and Dorothy (Hollingsworth) Smith. Willie graduated from Handley High School in Fort Worth, TX, where he grew up. He lettered in 4 sports and was an all around outstanding athlete. After earning a scholarship through athletics at Arlington State University where he was on the winning football team that won the National Championship in the Junior Rose Bowl. He earned a scholarship at N.S.U. in Tahlequah, OK, there he played on another great team that won the National Championship for small colleges in the Holiday Bowl. It was also in Tahlequah that he met Barbara Guynn. After just 4 months of dating they married in May of 1957, a 63 year happy marriage.
Willie began his coaching career in Pryor, OK and later coached in Wagoner, Tahlequah, back to Henderson, TX and finally spending many years in Miami. He coached 3 sports later in Joplin, MO at Parkwood High School where they won state championships for high schools in football and track. He loved both playing and coaching and was the pitcher for men’s softball games and tournaments for many years. He finally changed to playing golf, another sport he adored. Competition was oxygen to him. He loved the kids he coached and tried to be a good role model for them as well.
Willie was a skilled designer and builder of many homes, decks, and other facilities, and could repair just about anything except cars. He was a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout and attended the National Boy Scout Jamboree twice. During the summer he took athletes to the National Christian Fellowship Camp in Colorado.
In retirement he and Barbara took on management and restoration of the Coleman Theatre and helped not only to rennovate but to facilitate the remodel to include the Coleman Ballroom. He liked guiding tours of the Coleman to show the great expertise of its origional builders and took pride in the efforts of our community to restore this grand historical facility.
Willie was a kind, caring and living husband, father , grandfather and friend to many. Most of all he loved traveling with Barbara or just being with her and his family. He was always ready to help, to play, to share a silly story or just give a great big hug when one was needed. He was a treasure and a gift to all who knew him.
Willie was preceded in death by 2 sons, Randy Smith and Dayne Smith, 1 grandson, Zachary Smith, his parents and his brother, Charles “Chuck” Smith.
Willie is survived by his wife, Barbara (Guynn) Smith of the home, 1 son, Brad Smith and his wife Sandra of Collinsville, OK, daughter-in-law,Tami Johnson Smith of Plano, TX, 9 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and 1 great great-grandchild.
Celebration of Life services will be held at a later date. Arrangements have been placed in the care of Paul Thomas Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Miami, OK. Online condolences may be made at www.paulthomasfuneralhomes.com.