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Ridout's Gardendale Chapel

2029 Decatur Highway, Gardendale, AL

OBITUARY

Derek Smith

October 11, 1996September 26, 2019
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A young man with an old soul, Derek was born October 11, 1996, in Birmingham, Alabama. Although he passed away two weeks before his 23rd birthday, on September 26, 2019, he will FOREVER LIVE ON in the hearts & memories of those who love him dearly, including but not limited to his mother, Bobbie Ransum Smith, father, Marc Smith, sister, Hannah Faith Smith, brother, Maverrick Metzler, & many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A bright young man, he was identified by the Duke University Talent Identification Program in middle school. After graduating from Mortimer Jordan High School (May 2015), he attended Auburn University (2015-2016) on an academic scholarship and went on to pursue a degree from Wallace State College (2016-2019). Full of excitement and eagerly devoted to accomplishing his goals, he wrote: “I've been accepted into a Diagnostic Imaging program! I'm more than ready to put all of my efforts into finishing it. Wish me luck!”

Upon graduation, he gave thanks and encouragement: “So yesterday I graduated college, today I PASSED my registry to become a Registered Radiologic Technologist and Monday I start my career at UAB Hospital! Thank you to my family, friends, and teachers who made it possible! Hard work and dedication pays off y’all :)” He did go on to work at UAB Hospital in Birmingham on May 13, 2019, as a Radiological Technician.

Friends and family are so proud of the man Derek grew up to be. They knew him to be a loyal, loving, supportive son, brother, friend, and co-worker. Very active, he loved basketball, kayaking, golf, deep sea fishing, and any outdoor activity. Derek always made time for and loved his family unconditionally. He was a light to others, nicknamed “Smiley” and always expressed compassion for others, offering kind, uplifting words to those needing them most.

His loss is a devastating tragedy. There are no words that do justice to his absence. The world definitely became darker without his light and love. He will be remembered daily. Those who loved him will deeply grieve but also be reminded to pursue their dreams to the fullest the way he did. They will make him proud and honor his legacy by remembering his genuine kindness, thoughtful encouragement, and unparalleled generosity. Perhaps his light will in fact live on in all those he touched. They will radiate his smile, his affection, his compassion and he will live on forever! Those he left behind will pursue a life worthy to meet him again in Heaven where they know he is waiting with joy upon his face, outstretched arms for an eternal embrace, and encouragement that will erase every tear shed on earth.

He made us proud! We will make him prouder still!

Services

  • Celebration of Life Gathering Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Service Monday, September 30, 2019

Memories

Derek Smith

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Marc Smith

October 3, 2019

I remember when Derek was playing football for Morris he was one of the running backs he had run several times in a row rushing the ball to about the two yard line. Then the coaches took him out of the game and gave the ball to another back. So we have that in common we both almost scored a football score. Coaches should have given the ball to us more if they wanted to win games. I think about you every morning when I wake up and several hours each day. Your spirits alive inside of me. I love you, Dad

Jason Pylant

September 30, 2019

I only got to see Derek when he came in to work his weekends at UAB. I wished I had gotten to know him. I can see through people who did know and love him, what a beautiful person he was. It is so heartbreaking to think how bad he was hurting inside. I can't imagine the pain his family and friends are feeling. My heart and prayers that God will help with everyone dealing with the loss of such a beautiful soul. I know he has found peace in paradise with Jesus, he is finally home.

Janet Gillispie

September 30, 2019

I met Derrick when he came to the operating room for his two weeks of training . I thought ,what a fine young man , so. polite and humble with such a big heart , just a great guy . The kind of guy that you want your daughter to meat and that you would love to have as a son-in-law and I joked with him about that but my daughter just turned 18 ..and I joked with Derrick a lot , he was so easy to approach and we got along .We continued our friendship on into his evening shift that he transferred to once his training was over on day shift . He and I would talk every evening before I would go home and I will never forget You Derrick !! You are a fine young man who amazed me in this world because there are so few of young men like you ...See you in Heaven ! Love from the old lady in the OR , Janet

Kellie Brown

September 30, 2019

I met Derek about 12 years ago. Will transferred to Bryan elementary in the 5th grade and didn’t know anyone. Derek took him under his wing and they have been best friends ever since. He spent many hours at our house with the entire gang (Hunter, Luke, Morde, Derek an Will). I have so many memories of the sweet little boy that took my son in and made him feel welcome and watching him grow into the wonderful man he became. I will cherish them all and I pray God’s gives Derek’s family and friends peace and comfort during this tragedy.

Rachael Green

September 29, 2019

Praying for the family of this young man.

Bethany Nabors

September 29, 2019

I only known Derek for a few months. I worked the mid shift 7 to 5am..so I will see him during evening shift. He was always a nice and sweet young man. This tragic event saddens me dearly. I am praying for your family during this troubling time.

annafaith holman

September 29, 2019

One of THE most caring, sweetest, funniest souls i’ve had the pleasure of meeting. we grew up together and he was one my best child hood friends. i will forever cherish every memory we have together! Fly high, Derek. We will all see you again one day. ♥️

Andrew Mordecai

September 29, 2019

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