Eugene Smith, Jr.
Arcadia - Jesse Eugene Smith, Jr. was born on May 27, 1933, in the Driskill Mountain community into a family of modest means. His parents were Jesse Eugene Smith, Sr. and Maxine Crawford Smith. He had one sibling, Ray Dean Smith. The boys grew up playing barefoot in the red clay dirt of the rolling hill country of north Louisiana during a time when faith, family, and friends fostered a spirit of closeness. In 1946, the family moved to Arcadia.
In 1953, Eugene graduated from Arcadia High School, and on July 10 of that same year, he married Billie Nichols. Later that same year, he was drafted into the United States Army. Their first child, Milton Eugene Smith, was born in 1954 while the couple was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. They returned to Arcadia in 1955where he opened his first business, Smith Grocery Store, and attended Louisiana Tech University. Their second child, Sheri Ann Smith Taylor, was born in 1959 in Arcadia. They have four grandchildren: Jesse Smith, and Zac, Hunter, and Jessa Taylor, and they also have one great-grandchild, Rory Smith.
Later, Eugene was an accountant for H.R. Hayes Lumber Company in Arcadia. He worked several years for Firestone in both Arcadia and Minden, and later returned to work for H.R. Hayes at the Monroe location.
In 1963, he became the local Driver's License Examiner and quickly advanced to Regional Inspector and later to Administrator of Field Services where he retired as Assistant Administrator, Office of Motor Vehicles, in 1990. Two years later, he was appointed as the Executive Director of the Louisiana motor Vehicle Commission by then Governor Edwin W. Edwards.
Shortly afterwards, he embarked on his political career as Justice of the Peace, Bienville Parish. The in 2003, he was elected as Mayor of Arcadia and was serving his fourth consecutive term.
Mayor Smith was a Board member of the following:
Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) Executive Board
Vice President, LMA District B
Business and Industry Development Company
Scripture Memory Fellowship, International
North Louisiana Economic Partnership
Louisiana Entrepreneur and Small Business Commission (appointed by Gov. Jindal)
Chairman of Coordinating Development Corporation (CDC)
United Theological Seminary and Bible College
Mayor Smith has been actively involved in community service and has held the following positions:
President, Arcadia Jaycees
Commander, Ham Michael American Legion Post
Worshipful Master, Arcadia Masonic Lodge (fifty year member)
He has also been actively involved for many years in the Arcadia Lions Club, Bienville Parish Chamber of Commerce, and First Baptist Church of Arcadia. As mayor, he has worked tirelessly to develop Arcadia economically. His involvement with the boards listed above has placed him in close contact with people positioned to assist with the development of new businesses and industries.
During his first mayoral campaign, Mayor Smith challenged the citizens to "Watch Arcadia Grow." Four years later, he invited new businesses and residents to "Come Grow with Us." He has worked hard to foster an atmosphere that is conducive to both large and small industry as well as to retail businesses - those that are currently located in Arcadia and those that anticipate joining the community. He took great pride in our town and parish.
Mayor Smith, a man of great vision, with a dream to make a difference for the people and Town of Arcadia. He considered his greatest achievement securing the funding for and overseeing the building of the Arcadia Events Center. His current passion was supervising the refurbishing of the Arcadia Outlet Mall which was recently purchased by the Town of Arcadia.
The wake for Mayor Smith will be held at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Arcadia on Saturday, April 28, 5:00 until 9:00 P.M. Funeral services will be conducted on Sunday, April 29 at 2:00 P.M. at the Arcadia Events Center.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to, Scripture Memory Fellowship, International, 1930 Pendleton Dr., Garland, TX 75041 or First Baptist Church of Arcadia, 2249 Hazel St, Arcadia, LA 71001.