NEW BERN, N.C. — George Cochran Smith, 55, of New Bern, passed from Earth to eternity on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 and is now in the presence of his Lord and Savior.
A beloved husband, father, brother and grandfather, he treasured his family and will be remembered for the devotion he showed and the love he shared. His granddaughter Lilly was the apple of his eye, a permanent source of pride and jubilation. George was gregarious and outgoing; he never met a stranger.
George was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2013 and underwent a stem-cell transplant seven months later. He persevered with uncommon strength, bravery and grace.
He was born April 26, 1959 in New York City. After brief stays in New York and Florida, he moved to Maryland with his family. George grew up in and around Ocean City. The Smiths relocated to New Bern in June 1975, when George was 16. He attended New Bern High School, where he drove a school bus and worked part-time at both the Neuse Boulevard and Pollock Street movie theaters, serving as candy man and projectionist, before graduating in 1977.
George was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He was a salesman for North Carolina Natural Gas for 17 years, worked as a convenience store district manager and retired from a civil-service position repairing Pedro rescue helicopters aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
After retirement, George worked as a substitute teacher for Craven County Schools, volunteered as a guardian ad litem and spent time completing home improvement projects and tinkering in his backyard shop. He enjoyed fishing and spending time with his friends.
George was preceded in death by his parents, MaryEllen Smith and Bernard (Bernie) Smith.
He is survived by his loving wife, Kathleen Smith of the home; two daughters, Kristyn Michelle (Kristy) Smith of New Bern and Elizabeth Nicole (Nicky) Smith of Maysville; two stepchildren, Kimberly Bessey of Winterville and Corey Friedman of Rockingham; his stepmother, Margie Cochran of Deltona, Florida; two brothers, Joseph Smith of Bradenton, Florida and William (Bill) Smith of Wake Forest; two sisters, Robin Smith Ball of New Bern and Marianna Smith Morin of Wake Forest; two stepbrothers, Tracy Cochran and Kenneth (Kenny) Cochran, both of Deltona, Florida; an uncle, John Cochran of Florida; a granddaughter, Lillian Grace Friedman; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at Pollock~Best Chapel. The family will gather to share stories and refreshments following the service. Those wishing to offer words of condolences and hope may visit www.pollockbest.com.
Memorial donations may be made to Journey of Hope Cancer Support Center, 1010 Medical Park Ave. New Bern, NC 28562, or www.cchcfoundation.org/journey-of-hope.php.
Pollock~Best Funerals & Cremations is honored to assist the Smith family.