Benjamin Lee Smith, Jr.
November 30, 1922 – May 15, 2018
Benjamin Lee (Ben) Smith, Jr., 95, passed away peacefully at his home at River Landing in Colfax on Tuesday, May 15th. Affectionately known as “Granddaddy” to his family, he was born in Spartanburg, SC to Ben L. Smith, Sr. and Pearl Abernethy Smith. Ben spent his early years in Shelby, NC, and moved to Greensboro as a teenager when his father became Superintendent of the Greensboro City Schools. After graduating from Greensboro Senior High School, he earned a B.S. degree from Duke University, where he was a member of several scholastic honor fraternities and ODK, the national leadership fraternity. He was also president of his chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity. After graduation, Ben completed U. S. Navy OCS at Notre Dame and was commissioned in 1943. He served in combat aboard submarines, including the USS Brill (SS-330), in the South Pacific. At the end of World War II, Ben married his college sweetheart and the love of his life, Frances “Panky” Winslow, and began his early career in the Engineering Department of Cone Mills Corporation in Greensboro. After serving ten years at Cone and achieving a perfect score on the NC Professional Engineers Examination, he founded his own consulting engineering firm, Ben L. Smith, Jr. and Associates. His professional affiliations included membership in the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Professional Engineers of North Carolina, where he served as President of the North Piedmont Chapter. He was past President of the Greensboro Engineers Club, a member of the North Carolina Society of Surveyors, and a Fellow and past President of the North Carolina Chapter of ACSM. An Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow, Ben attended the first National Scout Jamboree, held in Washington, DC in 1937. Following his example, all of his sons and some of his grandsons are Eagle Scouts. Ben was an active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America for over 60 years and served as a past President of the former General Greene Council. He was awarded the Silver Beaver for his decades of adult leadership and service to scouting. One of the first residents of River Landing, he thoroughly enjoyed playing golf with his buddies. Other lifelong interests included bird hunting, fishing, RV camping, and spending time with his family and friends. He is remembered as a warm, kind, intelligent, and generous man who was loved and respected. Ben loved the Lord and had a passion for youth. He served on the Board of Directors of Youth for Christ and participated in fundraising activities for many years. He was also an active member of Trinity Church, where he was on the Board of Elders and taught Sunday School. Previously, he and Panky were charter members of Christ United Methodist Church, where he also served faithfully. Ben was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Mary Blair S. Robinson, and a daughter, Susan Blair Smith. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Panky Smith, and four children: Ben C. Smith (Marty), Tommy Smith (Peggy), Sally Smith Sikes (Barry), and David Smith (Leigh); ten grandchildren: Jennifer Smith Lachesky (Mike), Benji Smith (Laura), Michele Pfeiffer (John), Courtney Smith Brunson (Tyler), Shelby Sikes Ijames (Dustin), Chelsy Sikes Helton (Mike), Sarah Smith Binion (Tommy), William Smith, Benjamin Smith (Cori), and Alexander Smith; twelve great-grandchildren; and several McCrory and Robinson nieces and nephews. The family wishes to express their heartfelt appreciation to the wonderful caregivers at River Landing and Hospice, as well as to Debra Chambliss, for the loving and compassionate care provided to Granddaddy and Panky. Following a private graveside service, a memorial service will be held at Trinity Church, 5200 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro, NC, 27410 at 11:00 am on Friday, May 18th. Visitation will follow the memorial service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Trinity Church or Youth for Christ, 917 N. Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401. Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel is assisting the Smith family with arrangements.
- Memorial Service Friday, May 18, 2018
Benjamin Lee Smith, Jr.
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May 17, 2018
Ben Smith was one of the friendliest and most generous people I’ve ever met. He was an excellent engineer and a practical one and was a very valuable partner for me during my 14 years as plant manager at Mother Murphy’s Labs. He also helped with a couple of engineering problems I ran into building my log cabin. I think it was his son Ben who once told me he thought his dad and I had a mutual admiration society. That was certainly true on my side. I’ll miss him.
Cissy Bailey Smith
May 17, 2018
Your love and example and Moppy's have been my rock and inspiration for over 50 years. My children were handed to you shortly after they arrived and have adored you and Moppy every minute of their lives. Your love covered their children when they were born and the echos of your love and faith will continue through the lives of your children and their children and on and on down through our generations. I remember hearing your beautiful prayers over all of these years and one phrase was constant. You would say "Thank you Lord for all the ways you love us". I know how much He loves us because He gave us to you. We will surround your precious Moppy with our love until she joins you. Rest and rejoice. I miss you so much.
Cissy Bailey Smith
Ed Martin, Boy Scouts of America
May 16, 2018
On behalf of the Boy Scouts of America and the loyal Scouting community, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Smith family upon the passing of Ben Smith, Jr.
Ben was a generous and committed Scouting volunteer for many years. His leadership had a positive impact on so many young people as well as his fellow adult Scouting volunteers. He represented the high ideals set for in the Boy Scouts of America Oath and Law. He will be missed by many but his impact will never be forgotten.
May God's love and warm embrace be with all members of the Smith family during this time.
Yours in Scouting service,
CEO/Scout Executive of the Old North State Council, Boy Scouts of America
May 16, 2018
Ben, Tommy, Sally David,
Your dad was my role model for more than half a century and one of the primary factors in my joining the Navy. The first time I met him was even before Ben and I became friends in high school. He was the camping merit badge counselor for scouts. I came to your house to pass the requirements. I didn't know how to tie a diamond hitch for securing a load to a pack horse. He turned over a dinning room chair and demonstrated how to do it right there in the living room.
He and your mother have always made me feel like a member of the family. I will treasure those memories and his friendship all the days of my life.