Everett Lee Smith
June 4, 1938 – January 25, 2020
This biological tribute was written by his wife Barbara.
Everett Lee “Smitty” Smith, 81, April 26, 1938 – January 25, 2020, formerly of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma passed away at his home in Portsmouth, Virginia from pneumonia and heart failure.
He was the loving husband of Barbara for over 51 years, the son of the late Robert Williams Smith and the late Martha Willmeta Sikes Smith Johnson. He was the stepson of Clarence “Bill” Johnson, brother of Danny Johnson who were both formerly of Johnson & Johnson machine Shop in Mustang, Oklahoma.
Everett is the father of Karen M. Smith of Norfolk, Virginia and the late Darrel Smith; stepfather of Dean Rymer of Palmer, Massachusetts and the late Kathy “Kaet” Wedel; grandfather of Jaqi Haldiman of Norfolk, Virginia, Mary Smith Greenfield of Brewerton, New York, Joe Smith of San Diego, California, Avery Lane of Moore, Oklahoma, and Amber Lane Beninati of Springfield, Massachusetts; great-grandfather of Syrina Haldiman of Staunton, Virginia, Elora and Carina Beninati both of Springfield, Massachusetts, Cruz and Jax Greenfield of Brewerton, New York; uncle of Noah and Bob Johnson of New Mexico.
Everett was born and partly raised in Oklahoma. His father died when he was 14. His mother remarried and they lived in Air Force bases in Arizona, Illinois, and Missouri. He graduated from Ritneour High School, St Louis, Missouri in 1956.
He entered the Army after graduation from high school. He married his high school sweetheart, Louise. After his discharge from the Army they moved to San Diego, California to be near his mother again. Everett and Louise soon divorced after they moved to California. Everett then married Julie. They were blessed with two children, Karen and Darrel. After Everett and Julie divorced he married Barbara.
“Smitty” worked at Luther Nash’s gas station where he and Barbara met. Their first date was on St. Patrick’s Day. He courted her with milkshakes and banana splits after he got off work. They were married at his mother’s home on New Year’s Day 1969. This was the only day they were both not working.
He purchased Linda Vista Exxon Gas Station; adding a AAA U-Haul Rental distributorship to his tow truck and car repair business. About five years later he added a paint and body shop to the business.
During the gas shortages of the 70’s he decided to liquidate the businesses and the family moved to Turlock, California where he ran a Royal Coach Car-wash.
When his step-son Dean was injured on the motorcycle he bought from Everett, he quit the Royal Coach Car-wash to be a stay at home house husband and caretaker of Dean. It was an interesting role reversal. He cooked, cleaned and took care of Kathy and everything while his wife “brought home the bacon”. Barbara's job included insurance benefits and his did not. On weekends he would sell items at swap meets.
When his grandma Smith passed he flew to Oklahoma City for her funeral in Duncan, Oklahoma. There were help wanted signs all over the area and at home in Turlock we had the nation’s highest unemployment rate of 17%. In 1979 the family moved to Yukon, Oklahoma where his mother now lived. As Dean was finely well and graduating High School that year it seemed a better place for the family to live.
Everett got a job at a trailer repair company first then became employed with the city of Warr Acres with the street department. He helped clear a lot of snow then. Next he became an apprentice to the R. W. Smith electrical company doing mostly commercial work. He was never afraid to learn a new trade. He became a journeyman and then a master electrician. Before he retired he was licensed in multiple states.
He ran his own company doing both residential and commercial for a while. In 1990 he started working on out of town jobs with large crews. He worked for Halliburton, MMR, Brown & Root and Tradesman International. The pay and benefits were good and he got to travel all over, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma.
He used to check and see if there was a Walmart within an hour’s drive of the job being offered before he would accept the offer. He knew he could get his prescriptions, groceries or anything he needed at Walmart. He worked 10 and 12 hour shifts often 6 days a week.
He did not like living in hotels so he bought a little 16-foot trailer that he hauled with his Ford Ranger truck. He rescued his cat “Smokey” while in Alabama the first time. The cat traveled everywhere with him. He was happy working out on the road and made many friends including the Mitchell brothers who considered him as family.
He bought a big Diesel Dodge truck so he could trade his trailer for a bigger one. He bought a 32-foot trailer with a slide-out. It had all the comforts of a home.
In his travels he worked in the mountains of Virginia. He liked it and we talked about moving to Virginia when he retired. His daughter and her family lived in Norfolk. We bought a home in Portsmouth within walking distance to his granddaughter.
Everett had been baptized in 1981 at Putnum City Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After moving to Portsmouth we started coming to the Grow Services at Port Norfolk Baptist Church where they shared breakfast. It reminded him of the fellowship he shared at campgrounds with his co-workers on the road. Everett transferred his membership to his new church family at Port Norfolk Baptist Church. He enjoyed faithfully helping with the weekly food pantry, meeting many neighborhood people.
In 2019 he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He opted for chemotherapy, when the option of surgery was removed after the cancer had spread to his liver. His father had died of the same kind of cancer. Everett shared a gene that made colon cancer more likely.
In September he fell, breaking his right leg at the tibia plateau. He had to stop chemotherapy until the fracture healed. He dropped 32 pounds.
After Thanksgiving he resumed chemotherapy while still doing physical therapy at home. He had been laid up long enough that he had to relearn balance and how to walk again.
On the first day of his latest chemotherapy he started having trouble breathing. He was sent to the ER where we found out he had pneumonia and heart problems. He had Barrett’s esophagus which was making it difficult to swallow. The decision was not to do a feeding tube but to come home on hospice. He came home on January 23rd and passed peacefully into his Savior’s arms in his sleep.
Everett “Smitty” was a wonderful husband and provider. He was a good hardworking friendly guy. He joined the Loyal Order of the Moose #1785 in Oklahoma City in 1983. He supported their ideas of Moosehaven (helping the elderly) and Mooseheart (helping children in need). He loved to go to dinners and ballroom dancing at the Moose Lodges during his travels. Being from Oklahoma he leaves behind many relatives and friends in Oklahoma and Texas.
A graveside funeral service with military honors will be held at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, 8701 N. Expressway, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 2:30 p.m., Saturday, September 19, 2020.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Celebration of Life ~ Graveside Service
Saturday, September 19, 2020