Leon L. Smith
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Commander. Leon Louis (Bud) Smith, United States Navy, Retired, of Florence, passed away Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, after a long battle with Alzheimer's. A memorial celebration service will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, Florence. Visitation for friends and family will be held in the atrium of the church following the service.
Bud was born in Big Spring, Texas, but was reared on his grandparents' farm in Mineral Wells, Texas, where his football skills earned him a scholarship to the University of Texas, Arlington. He earned his B.S. from George Washington University and M.B.A from Harvard University, graduating with honors. He lived life with gusto, whether a philosophical discussion, listening to music, officiating or playing sports, planning business strategies or dealing with the ethics of academics.
A proud member of the military, Bud earned his Navy wings in 1956, flying single engine, multi-engine and helicopter aircraft in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. His varied assignments included being deployed on an ice-breaker in the Arctic (rendezvoused with the
Nautilus as it made its first deep sea trial under the Arctic ice), serving as the personal pilot for the Pacific Fleet flag ship, Weapons Officer for the Commander Fleet Air Mediterranean during Israel's Six Day War and as the Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of Helicopter Training Squadron Eight in Pensacola.
Teaching was his passion and in 1977, he joined the faculty at UNA where he taught in the Marketing and Management department for 23 years. Known as "Bud" to his students, he was voted "Outstanding Professor" three times and always worked to be worthy of that honor. He mentored students from all backgrounds including athletes, international and reentering adults. He shared lessons from "Life 101" on how to improve your life today...to simply plant a tree, make a call to someone who has made a difference in your life and thank them and make a list of the things that are keeping you from your dreams and then burn it, telling you that nothing should stop you from your dreams.
A proud family man, he is survived by his wife of 55 years, Anne; and four children, Becky Morris (Calvin), Cindy Davis (Kenneth), Bret Smith (Lori) and Scott Smith (Ashli); and his grandchildren, Eric Hamlin, Ryne, Taylor and Carly Davis, Kailey and Cutter Smith and Hudson and Anna Claire Smith; and by great-granddaughter, Kayli White-Hamlin; and cousin, Margie Lee Cantalamessa, of Houston, Texas. His parents, Frances and Leon Smith, and his sister, Evelyn Leanne Smith, preceded him in death.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made to either of the following: UNA Sportsmens' Club, PO Box 426, Florence, 35631, First United Methodist Church Building Fund, Northwest Alabama Reading Aides, Inc., PO Box 391, Florence, 35631, an Alzheimer's organization, or any
An online guestbook may be viewed and signed at greenviewmemorial.com.
Arrangements by Greenview Funeral Home.
Published in Florence Times Daily on Aug. 27, 2013