Tommy Eugene Smith, 71, of Forest, MS, died peacefully, with his family holding his hands, at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland on Sunday afternoon, September 9, 2018, after a battle with cancer.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2pm Wednesday September 12, 2018 from the Forest United Methodist Church with Rev. David Slaughter officiating. Interment will follow in the Sims Cemetery near Morton. Visitation will be held from 5pm to 8pm Tuesday September 11, 2018 at the OTT & LEE FUNERAL HOME in Forest and again on Wednesday from 12pm to 1pm at the funeral home.
Tommy was born to Bill Eugene & Helen Massey Smith (Black) on January 16, 1947, in Morton, MS. He lived most of his youth and adult life in the Scott County area and worked 40+ years in the banking business.
Tommy was married to his high school sweetheart, Charlene Mapp Smith, for 45 years, and they had two sons: Clinton R. Smith of Tupelo, MS (soon moving to Ridgeland), and Matthew L. Smith of Saltillo, MS. He graduated from Morton High School in 1966, and also attended East Central Junior College, USM, and the School of Banking at Ole Miss and later at LSU. Prior to his banking career he served in the Army National Guard. His journey in banking began in the mid 1970’s with CIT Financial in Forest, and he later worked at the Bank of Morton, State Bank & Trust Co. in Collins, and Sunburst Bank in Pearl. Tommy finally made his way back to his “old stomping ground” in Scott County with Union Planters Bank in Forest, ultimately retiring from Community Bank in Forest in 2014.
During the course of his business career, he was involved in and held leadership positions in several community and civic organizations, including being a long-time member of the Lions Club in Morton and Forest, as well as holding leadership positions at the Chamber of Commerce in multiple communities. Tommy gave his time selflessly to multiple other charitable causes for his local communities in central and south Mississippi. Tommy and Charlene are long-time members of the Forest United Methodist Church. He was initially raised by his family in the Church of Christ, was baptized as a young man, and he believed that he would go on to live with his Heavenly Father for eternity.
Aside from banking and his family, Tommy was probably best known for his love of all things outdoors. He was an avid deer hunter, and he especially loved bowhunting with his family and friends. Outside of deer season, he also greatly enjoyed fishing, dove hunting, gardening, and tending to his massive yard(s) (often to the chagrin of his sons, although they later learned to appreciate it as much as he did).
“Papa T” introduced a many a youngster (particularly his grandchildren) to their first experience in hunting and fishing, an accomplishment in which he took great pride. He must have baited about a “jillion” bream hooks for his boys, grandchildren, and others over the years. He also played quite a bit of tennis and golf in years past, and he coached his sons (and countless other boys) in little league baseball over many summers. Tommy trained several outstanding black Labrador hunting dogs, and he also dabbled in racing homing pigeons for a while during the 80’s.
He couldn’t help but being a “people person” in the banking business, and (as he would say, whether it was an old saying or not) “as the old saying goes…” he “never met a stranger”. He made countless friends growing up in central Mississippi and also while living in south Mississippi over the course of his career. Tommy was always quick to offer a smile, a handshake, contagious laughter, or a cup of coffee in his office, and he was genuinely committed to connecting with and taking care of his customers (and friends) in good times and bad.
Tommy is survived by his wife of 45 years, Charlene; his sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren: Drs. Clint Smith & Susan Shamburger (Turner, Henry, and Elle Smith) and Matt & Jennifer Smith (Jackson and Madilyn); step-father, John Black of Morton; sisters, Carol Purvis and Joan Black, of Morton; many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, as well as his brothers Johnny and Tim.
Pallbearers are Bo Coker, Harry Culpepper, Randy Dilley, Jonathan Huff, Jeremy Hunt, Gaines Massey, Mike Massey, Ray Massey, Gary Mitchell, Jimmy Pickering, and Paul Thompson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Forest United Methodist Church, 501 East Third St. Forest, MS 39074 or to Hospice Ministries, 450 Towne Center Blvd. Ridgeland, MS 39157