Tommie B. Coach Smiley, Jr. 68, of Beaumont, passed away peacefully at home, Wednesday, October 10, 2012. He was born on February 14, 1944, to the late Tommie B. and Mae Etta Smiley, in Port Arthur, Texas. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1963 and went on to graduate from Lamar State College of Technology (Lamar University), where he was inducted into the Cardinal Hall of Honor, because of his outstanding athletic ability in football. He was a hard runner, very strong blocker, and a good team player, as said by Joe Lee Smith, who was Lamar's sports information director during Tommie's collegiate playing days. Tommie was drafted into the NFL in 1968, by the Cincinnati Bengals, in 1969, he played for the Denver Broncos and in 1970, the Houston Oilers. He served his country in the United States Marine Corp Reserve Unit, with an honorable discharge in November, 1968. He was also a member of the United States Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in June, 1972. Affectionately, known as Coach Smiley, he was a teacher and coach in the Beaumont ISD, where he retired with 26 years of service. Tommie enjoyed fishing and gardening in his leisure time, sharing the fruit of both with family and friends. Tommie's memory is cherished by his devoted wife of 43 years, Rita Smiley; a sister, Mae Etta Haynes (Donald) of Waco, Texas; one niece, Jo Anna Essex of Waco, Texas; three nephews, William Essex and Jordan Haynes of Waco, Texas; Rev. Al Deshion Nezy (Rennie) of Page, Arizona; and two great nephews, Rayshion and Jayden Nezy of Page, Arizona; and other relatives and friends. Viewing will be Friday, October 19, 2012, at Comeaux-Community Funeral Chapel, 624 Irma Street, from 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. There will be a visitation from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 20, 2012, at Scott Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 1050 Ewing Street, Beaumont, Texas, with entombment to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
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Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Oct. 18, 2012