Dr. Ralph Edward Smith, 89 of Athens, passed away peacefully on Nov. 7, 2012. He was born May 6, 1923 in Porterdale, Ga. He moved to Cedartown, Ga. as a young boy and lived there until he joined the Army Air Force at the age of 19. In the service to his country he was stationed in Foggia, Italy. There he became a pilot and flew B17 bombers during WWII. He loved to tell stories of his time in the service. He was once ordered to take a military Jeep and perform a duty, he had to decline because "he had never learned to drive a car and didn't have a drivers license". When the war was over, he returned to Ga to further his education at UGA. In 1948 he earned his BSAE degree from UGA in three years. During that time he also met and married Carolyn Dillard. They moved to Tifton where he taught at ABAC for five years. In 1956 they returned to Athens to raise a family, where he taught as a Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. While teaching, he earned his MS in Physics from UGA in 1961. He took a sabbatical and moved his family to Stillwater, Okla to pursue his PHD, while teaching at Oklahoma State University. He returned to UGA and was a professor of AG Engineering until he retired in 1989.
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In his life he had many passions and hobbies. In 1948 he began participating in local blood drives. The Red Cross reported in 1998 that he had given 145 pints of blood. He was committed to this cause and inspired family and friends to give. He was reported as saying "I'd give more if they would let me!" He loved the outdoors, kayaking and riding his bicycle. A member of local bike clubs, he toured around the southeast into his late 70's. He continued to ride his bike around Athens until he fell and broke his hip which was the beginning of his declining health. He was a long time member and officer with Happy Squares of Athens and a member of Prince Ave Baptist Church. He helped found the Agricultural Engineering Development Fund (AEDF) which services five engineering scholarships.
The family would like to send a special thanks to Compassionate Care Hospice and his caregivers at Hampton House and Winterville Assisted Living for their gentle loving care and concern.
He is preceded in death by his daughter, Susan Claire Rousseau, and his son, R.Edward Smith Jr. He is survived by his daughter, Ellen Duttweiler (Bill Raines) Athens, granddaughters, Carolyn Mitchell (Steven) Gainesville, Ga, Sarah Aiken (Michael) Athens and Laura Benz (Ryan) N. California and five great grandsons, Noah, Cole, Luke, Aspen, and Skyler.
Memorials in his memory may be made to Prince Ave. Baptist Building Fund or Ag. Engineering Development Fund (AEDF).
A memorial service will be Tuesday Nov 13, 11:00 AM at Winterville United Methodist Church. Visitation with the family will be at the church immediately following the service.
Lord & Stephens East is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com www.lordandstephens.com>
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Nov. 11, 2012