AUGUSTA, Ga. - Willie Gray Pony smith, JR., of Bel Aire Hills Estates, passed on November 23, 2012. He was the fourth of five children born to the late Willie Gray Smith, Sr., and Annie Mae Gregory Smith on September 24, 1943 in Waynesboro, Ga. He was a graduate of Waynesboro High and Industrial School with the class of 1961. He moved to Chicago and attended the City College of Chicago and later enlisted in the United States Army in 1966. He was stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga. and later served in Glessen, West Germany for three years. He achieved the rank of E6 in three years. Willie served as a clerical assistant to the priest and later became the personnel sergeant. During his time in Germany, his wife Queen joined him where their first son Gregory was born in Frankfort, Germany. The family traveled extensively through Europe and visited East Germany, Austria, Holland, Brussels and Paris, France. After serving four years in the military, Willie received an honorable discharge and then returned to Chicago where he graduated from Roosevelt University with a BA degree in Business Administration. He continued his graduate study at Governors State University in University Park, Illinois where he received his Masters degree in Financial Management. He was an entrepreneur at an early age when he became the first young man to establish a paper route for the city of Waynesboro delivering the Augusta Chronicle while he was in high school. He was employed by Bell & Howell in Chicago as a Cost Analyst and a Systems Analyst. He later worked for West Chemical Products as a Sales Representative. On returning to Augusta, Ga., he was employed by Fenwick and Associates as the Controller and Financial Officer. He was also a very successful and well respected realtor for many years where he worked with Bernard Johnson, Veterans Realty and Coldwell Banker Military Realty where he sold real estate, managed rental properties and held training classes for aspiring realtors. He would later acquire the business in 1996 which he owned and operated. Willie was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America where he would participate frequently on scouting trips with his son, Stan and other kids in the neighborhood. He was a member of the Young Life Ministries at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, and was an active member of Bell Terrance Presbyterian Church for 26 years. He was a deacon and an elder, and participated in the church youth group. He married Queen Esther Griffin Smith of Waynesboro, Ga. on October 25, 1066. From that marriage, two sons were born: Greg and Stan. He was a very proud and loving father. God called him home on Friday, November 23, 2012 in Augusta. Willie is predeceased by his parents, his beloved sister, Mamie McCullough, and his brother, Eddie Smith. He leaves to cherish his memories, a devoted and loving wife of 46 years. Queen Esther Smith and two sons, Gregory Smith of Woodstock, Ga. and Stanford Smith of Decatur, Ga.; two granddaughters Sydnee Lauren Smith (Nicole Wallace) and Simone Rianna Smith (Teresa Wade). Twosisters Ruth Coley and Betty (Herbert) Johnson. Four Sisters-in-law, Dorothy Miller, Rosa Davis, Margaret Griffin (Jack), Beverly Griffin (George) and a brother-in-law Alvin Griffin, Jr.(Bernice), a loyal co-worker and niece, Christine Allen, and a host of beloved nephews, nieces, cousins, friends and classmates of 1961. Public viewing will be held Friday nigh at Phinazee Funeral Home from 7 to 8 pm, 404 W. 8th Street in Waynesboro, GA. The funeral will be held at Belle Terrace Presbyterian Church, 2454 Golden Camp Road in Augusta at 11:00 am. The body will lie in state from 10:00 to 11:00 prior to the funeral. Interment will be at Fellowship Baptist Church Cemetery on Highway 25 in Waynesboro. Repast will be served in Waynesboro at Blakeney Elementary school cafeteria.
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Published in The Augusta Chronicle from Nov. 25 to Nov. 30, 2012