OBITUARY

Rayvon Marshall Smith

December 5, 1926April 3, 2018

Rayvon Marshall Smith entered the world on December 5, 1926, born outside of Laurel in the Sharon Community of Jones County, Mississippi. He was the second son of Lola Hutto Smith and Hugh Marshall Smith.

Rayvon had a strong sense of duty to his country, and at seventeen lied about his age in order to join the U.S. Navy and participate in World War II where he served on Enewetak Atoll, monitoring submarine activity in the Pacific Theater, as well as on a military tugboat rescuing damaged naval ships. After he returned from the war, he took advantage of the GI bill and attended business school in Jackson, MS. While living at a boarding house there, he met the love of his life, Opalee Mallory from Goodman, MS. He used all of his considerable charm and persuasion to convince her to go on a date with him, and they were married for almost 60 years.

In 1947 he began an endeavor into the grocery business. He opened his first store, New Deal Grocery and Market in the front of an animal feed shop located on Farish Street. After several years of hard work, his grocery store grew into a chain known as New Deal Supermarkets, with the main store remaining on Farish Street. Over the years he expanded his stores to include locations in Pearl, Plain, Monticello,Crystal Springs, Brookhaven, Fayette, Centerville, Flora, Raymond, and various other parts of Jackson. His store motto was “The Total You Save Is What Counts.” His success in the grocery industry led him into several other business ventures, such as liquor sales, real estate development, meat packing, a women’s clothing boutique, a radio station, and the Jackson Hilton hotel. R.M. Smith Properties still operates in the Jessie Williams Building across from his original store on Farish Street.

He had five brothers and one sister. With his wife, he had three children—two daughters and one son who died from birth complications. He had four grandchildren whom he loved to dote on and whom he tried to mold into his image by taking them fishing, hunting, having them work at his stores with a starting salary of twenty-five cents an hour, and showing them how to cheat at poker.

Rayvon was a member of Alta Woods Baptist Church and active member in the community. He enjoyed being a 32nd Degree Mason and served in several volunteer positions with the Shiners. He was a member of the NAACP, and his business received the NAACP Medgar Evers Award in 1962, awarded “to the instruction or organization contributing most to uplift the entire community.” He enjoyed being involved in local and state politics, where he was named Colonel and Aide-de-Camp to the Governor’s staff under both Cliff Finch and William L. Waller. He also served as president of the Mississippi Liquor Association.

He is predeceased by his wife, Opalee Mallory Smith; infant son, Rayvon M. Smith, Jr.; parents Hugh and Lola Smith; brothers Wilmon Smith, Wilson Smith, H.L. Smith, and Robert G. Smith; and sisters-in-law Elon Smith and Libby Smith.

He is survived by daughters Sara Nell Jordan (Mike) of Raymond and Cynthia Norfleet (George) of Jackson; grandchildren Hollie Marjanovic (Petru) of Raymond, Will Jordan (Melissa) of Columbia, MS, Barton Norfleet (Savanna) of Jackson, and Drew Norfleet of Nashville, TN; great grandchildren Jackson and Mila Marjanovic, Marion, Will Darcy, and Max Jordan, and Dean Norfleet; brother Ronald Smith (Jane) of Memphis, TN; sister O’Nell Richards of Ponchatoula, LA; sisters-in-law Martha Smith and Betty Smith of Brandon, MS, and Sara Ann Ellington (Charles) of Corinth, MS; and many nieces and nephews and their families.

The family would like to thank the hospital and nursing staff at St. Dominics and Hospice Ministries. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the Mississippi Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.

Visitation will be held at Lakewood South Funeral Home, 430 McCluer Rd, Jackson, MS 39212, on Friday, March 6, 2018 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM with funeral services to follow in the funeral home chapel. Interment will be at Lakewood South Memorial Park.

  • FAMILY

  • He is predeceased by his wife, Opalee Mallory Smith; infant son, Rayvon M. Smith, Jr.; parents Hugh and Lola Smith; brothers Wilmon Smith, Wilson Smith, H.L. Smith, and Robert G. Smith; and sisters-in-law Elon Smith and Libby Smith.

    He is survived by daughters Sara Nell Jordan (Mike) of Raymond and Cynthia Norfleet (George) of Jackson; grandchildren Hollie Marjanovic (Petru) of Raymond, Will Jordan (Melissa) of Columbia, MS, Barton Norfleet (Savanna) of Jackson, and Drew Norfleet of Nashville, TN; great grandchildren Jackson and Mila Marjanovic, Marion, Will Darcy, and Max Jordan, and Dean Norfleet; brother Ronald Smith (Jane) of Memphis, TN; sister O’Nell Richards of Ponchatoula, LA; sisters-in-law Martha Smith and Betty Smith of Brandon, MS, and Sara Ann Ellington (Charles) of Corinth, MS; and many nieces and nephews and their families.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, April 6, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, April 6, 2018
REMEMBERING

Rayvon Marshall Smith

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