Forest Meadows Funeral Home and Cemeteries
725 NW 23rd Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32609
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1929 - 2020
Rex Lanel Smith, Ph.D. 90, of Gainesville FL passed away on January 5, 2020 from causes incident to age, at E.T. York Haven Hospice. He left this life peacefully surrounded by his wife and children.
Rex Smith was born on June 7, 1929, in Beaver, UT to Laura Morris and Reed Smith. He married Norma Nell Barton of Beaver, UT on July 20, 1949 in the Manti Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For the next 10 years the young couple made their home in Beaver, UT. where Rex partnered with his father in a cattle raising operation, and he and Norma became the parents of four children: Bonnie Pomeroy, Deanna Davis, Bradley (Mary Park), and Kathleen (Greg Self).
In March of 1960 the decision was made to leave the ranch and continue Rex's education at Utah State University. Rex proved to be an excellent student, graduating as valedictorian of his college in 1963. He continued his education at Iowa State University where he earned his Ph.D. Rex joined the faculty of UF in 1968 in the Dept. of Agronomy where he did research and taught plant science.
The objectives of his research were to improve and increase the food supply in underdeveloped countries, thereby relieving suffering and starvation. Dr. Smith's works were published in scientific journals and presented at numerous conferences in the US, South and Central America, Australia, Canada, and various European countries.
Through additional studies at NC State Dr. Smith became proficient in molecular genetics, applying those principles in crop improvement, teaching them to his students and sharing them with his colleagues.
Dr. Smith Retired in 2002 at age 73. He lived out his remaining years doing the things he loved: tending his beautiful home and gardens. He especially enjoyed growing ornamental plants often giving cuttings to neighbors and friends. He received many complements on the beauty of his gardens.
Rex dearly loved his family, his wife and children, his 9 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren, and all of God's creations. True to his kind and generous nature he carried out his stewardship of them to the very end of his days.
Funeral services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 3745 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville, FL on Saturday Jan. 11, 2020 at 1:00 pm. A visitation will precede the funeral from 11:00-12:30 pm. A graveside service will follow at Forest Meadows Central Cemetery, 4100 NW 39th Ave. Gainesville, Fl. Arrangements are in the care of Forest Meadows Funeral Home.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Jan. 11 to Jan. 12, 2020
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