OBITUARY

Harold "Hal" Raymond Smith

June 1, 1931April 12, 2014
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Harold Raymond "Hal" Smith 82, residing in Fort Smith, Arkansas went to heaven April 12, 2014. Hal was born June 1, 1931 in Barling, Arkansas. He was a member of Eastside Baptist Church and he was an Air Force Veteran of the Korean Conflict. Hal Smith attended Fort Smith Public Schools, graduating from Fort Smith High School (now Northside High School) in 1949. He also attended Westark College (now University of Arkansas Fort Smith). In 1949, Hal signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and was immediately assigned to their Albany, Georgia minor league team. In 1955, Hal was the top fielding catcher in the AA Texas League. From 1956 - 61, Hal was the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Following his playing days, he served the Redbirds as coach and scout - spending over 40 years with the Cardinals organization. In 1959, he caught in 141 games, an iron man feat never equaled by such Hall of Fame catchers as Bill Dickey and Mickey Cochrane. His career fielding average of .989 is the same as catching great Yogi Berra. In 1957 - 58, Hal was selected to the National League All-Star Team. In the 1959 All-Star game played at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Hal played on the same team with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks and Cardinals teammate Stan Musial. Hal's big league career also included coaching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers before returning to the Cardinals and finishing out his final working years scouting. Hal's career began with the Fort Smith Boys Club where he played his first organized baseball. That early baseball foundation led all the way to the Major Leagues. Funeral service will be 9:30 AM Wednesday at East Side Baptist Church with Rev. Carl Cheshier officiating. Private family burial will be under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Carolyn Elizabeth Smith of 64 years, his children; Sandi & Mike Woods, Sharon & Lee Gilbert and Dennis & Brenda Smith, his grandchildren; Courtney & Kenny Morris, Carrie & Daniel McGill, Jency & Russell Steven, Kaedy & Kevin Stallings, Chris & Frieda Smith, and Josh & Jennifer Smith, his great grandchildren; Joey Woods, Alyssa, Kenny Jr. & Maddie Wray Morris, Kylie & Daniel McGill, Bradley & Kelsee Barnard & Hagan Jones, Halle, Garrett & Carson Stallings, Malachi & Kaylee Smith, his great-great grandchild; Braxton Barnard, three sisters Virginia Wray Floyd, Nancy Weaver and husband Bill and Becky Crawford and husband Allen, two brothers Herbert Smith and wife Freta and Tommy Smith and wife Vicki and their families. Hal is preceded in death by his parents, Ronald & Katie Wray Smith and two brothers two brothers Billy Wray, Ronald Jr. & his wife, Virginia Smith. Pallbearers will be Russell Steven, Lee Gilbert, Bradley Barnard, Hagan Jones, Christopher Smith, Joshua Smith and Kevin Stallings. Honorary pallbearers will be Kelsee Barnard and Leland Gant. The family will visit with friends Tuesday evening from 5:30 PM-7:30 PM at Edwards Funeral Home Chapel. In lieu of sending flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club, 4905 North O Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72904. To place online tributes visit www.edwardsfuneralhome.com.

Services

  • Funeral Service Wednesday, April 16, 2014
  • Visitation Tuesday, April 15, 2014
REMEMBERING

Harold "Hal" Raymond Smith

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Mike Dugan

April 18, 2014

Major League Baseball has lost a true gentleman.

I am lucky to have his 1956 baseball card and always remember Hal's double on July 19, 1958 while I attended my first MLB game.

May God bless your family in the days ahead.You will be remembered in my daily prayers.

April 18, 2014

We'll miss you "Uncle Hal" -- our
sympathy goes out to Aunt Carolyn
and the Family; Love to all !
Martha Treece and Beckie & Bill Machmuller

sherry greene

April 16, 2014

As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.

Pam Grabe

April 16, 2014

So glad I had the opportunity to have Known Hal. A great man and I was so sad to hear of his passing. Prayers for his family

Jency Steven

April 16, 2014

My best friend, my father and my idol.....my popaw!!! U have showed me so much love and I have so many memories of you that I will always hold dear to my heart! I will never forget u or forget your laugh! U are my everything and I don't know what I am going to do without u! U are my angel now looking down over us! We will see each other again one day! I LOVE U POPAW!!! ALWAYS IN MY HEART!

Courtney Morris

April 16, 2014

My Papaw was the most loving kind hearted man. He would do anything in the world for you. I still can't believe you are gone. I will always have the most wonderful memories and you will forever be in all of our hearts. I love you Papaw!!!!! So much... <3<3<3

Jerry Glidewell

April 15, 2014

It's been a great honor to know Hal Smith. A baseball hero, who shared
entertaining stories and insight about the game--and about life. His family and friends all know that he was gifted with much more than athletic talent. We appreciate the outstanding support he gave to the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club over the years. We will always treasure his friendship…our community has lost a legend!

Rick Louis Adamie

April 15, 2014

Hal Smith was one of the greatest people I ever knew. Of all those I came to know in my days in Baseball I can honestly say no one was any more personable, more sincere, or any more fun. My Dad was in Baseball long before me so I knew Hal from childhood on, but had not seen him for a long time. Yet, he had been on my mind for awhile recently, now I unfortunately know why. I'm so sorry I never got to see him another time but the Field of Dreams just got a hell of a catcher and I'll always vividly remember that beautiful, fun loving, country boy. He represented the best of Baseball...
All comfort to the family

Debbie (Dormois) Blankenship

April 15, 2014

Larry just told me about Harold Raymond. I'm so sad to hear of his passing. I know it's been a VERY long time since we've been in contact, but you have always been loved by our family. Some of the most precious memories from my childhood are of your family. I know daddy and Harold Raymond are reminiscing and praising God together in heaven. May God give you comfort during this time.

Sherrie McDonald

April 15, 2014

What a great guy! So sorry for your loss! I feel so honored to have known this precious man! May God comfort you all in the days ahead knowing Hal's enjoying talking to some great ballplayers he knew before! "A good name is rather to be chosen than silver and gold". He does leave a great legacy not just in baseball but in the whole life he lived. I will see you again one day, Hal!!