Billy Mack Smith

Billy Mack Smith Oct 3, 1924-Nov 6, 2012 Bill Smith's life was a testament to serving others. A charismatic man with great humility, he leaves a legacy of love and compassion for those less fortunate. After hearing Franklin D. Roosevelt speak when he was a young boy, Bill wanted to be just like him and considered himself a "yellow dog" Democrat from that moment forward. Born in Rising Star, Texas on October 3, 1924, Bill graduated from Cross Plains High School, where he was the football team's quarterback and went to the state finals in tennis. After graduation, Bill enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was about to be deployed overseas when he was selected for Officer Training School. He became part of the Marines V-12 program and was sent to Southwestern University, where he played quarterback on the football team. He loved to reminisce about playing the Texas Longhorns in Memorial Stadium and getting knocked down many times by UT great Hub Bechtol, who picked him up and told him he was too little to be playing football! Following his time at Southwestern, Bill's V-12 unit was relocated to Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where he lettered three additional years as quarterback, and his great speed earned him the nickname "Rabbit Billy Smith." At Colorado College, Bill met his future wife, Elizabeth Anne Bowman and received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education. He then began a successful career as a high school teacher and football coach in Ballinger, Dublin and Rockwall, Texas. In the mid 1950s, Bill moved his family to Tyler, Texas and began a second career in the publishing business. Upon his retirement, he returned to Colorado to work for Christ the King Episcopal Church and started a soup kitchen for Arvada's homeless population. Subsequently he moved to South Carolina to serve as Director of Lay Ministries for Christ Church, Greenville. Because his children and grandchildren were still in Texas, he decided to move to Austin, where he became Director of Lakeway Church until his final retirement. Along the way, Bill amassed throngs of admirers for his wisdom, generosity, kindness to people and animals and joie de vivre. Everyone loved him, and even his football players from decades ago still came to visit "Coach" and pay their respects. He drew great pleasure from fishing at Yellowstone National Park, watching college football, particularly the Texas Longhorns, attending St. Matthew's and spending time with family and friends. His children want to convey heartfelt thanks to the staff of Barton Hills Assisted Living and Barton Hills Guest House for their attentive, respectful and loving care throughout his last years. Bill is survived by his sister Evelyn Stiles, son Paul Smith and daughter-in-law Staci Oller Smith, all of Tyler; daughter Gale Scott, daughter Carol Smith Adams, son-in-law Chris Adams and daughter Amy Smith, all of Austin; nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church on Saturday, November 24th at 2:00pm, with the family greeting guests at 1:30pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 8134 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759 or Animal Trustees of Austin, PO Box 14542, Austin, TX 78761.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on Nov. 13, 2012