September 11, 1944 -
May 8, 2014
Columbus, GA- Jerry Murl Smith died at home on Thursday, May 8, 2014 of pancreatic cancer. He was 69. A graveside service to celebrate his life will be held on Monday, May 12 at 11:00am at Parkhill Cemetery with Dr. James C. Elder, Jr., Pastor, First Baptist Church and The Rev. Timothy H. Graham, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church officiating.
Mr. Smith was born in Columbus, GA on September 11, 1944, the son of Louise Harden Smith and Grover Tiller Smith. He was a 1962 graduate of Columbus High School where he played on the basketball team that won the 1962 Georgia State High School Basketball Championship. During that year he was the team's leading scorer and Most Valuable Player. He was also recognized by the Ledger-Enquirer as Player of the Year.
He attended Columbus College, as Columbus State University was then known, from 1962 - 1964 where he continued to play basketball, captained the team that won two conference championships and was recognized as the team's Most Valuable Player. Mr. Smith was inducted into the CSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. He transferred to Huntington College in Montgomery, AL where he continued playing basketball and from which he graduated with a BS in Business Administration in 1966.
After college, he served in the Alabama Air National Guard for six years and, in 1967, he went to work for Royal Crown Cola Co. His first assignment at RC was delivering the company's soft drinks from a route truck in Rome, GA. He joined RC's International Division in 1971 and moved with that Division from Columbus to Miami in 1987. While with the International Division, which is again based in Columbus as part of Cott Beverages, Inc., Mr. Smith conducted business in approximately 65 countries on five continents. He served as president of Royal Crown Cola International for 15 years until his retirement in 2006.
Mr. Smith was a member of the Board of Trustees of Pickett & Hatcher Educational Fund, Inc., a member of Columbus Consolidated Consultants, Country Club of Columbus, Green Island Country Club and Big Eddy Club, as well as a lifelong member of First Baptist Church.
He is survived by his wife Peggy Blanchard Smith; by his step-daughter Margaret Heyn Richardson and her husband John; by his three grandchildren, Marien Carter Richardson, Christopher Ellis Richardson and John Mercer Richardson, all of Baton Rouge, LA; by his sisters Barbara Smith Moore and her husband Charlie and Jean Smith Norman and her husband Lev, all of Columbus; and by his brothers Jeff Smith and his wife Kim of Columbus and Donnie Smith and his wife Betty of Richland, GA as well as by numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his memory to the Columbus State University Foundation Fund for the Men's Basketball Program, 4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA 31907; First Baptist Church, 212 12th Street, Columbus, GA 31901; John B. Amos Cancer Center, Columbus Regional Medical Foundation, P. O. Box 790, Columbus, GA 31901; or Columbus Hospice, 7020 Moon Road, Columbus, GA 31909.
Condolences may be expressed at www.shcolumbus.com.
Published in Columbus Ledger-Enquirer from May 10 to May 11, 2014