Richard Ivan 'Smitty' Smith, 84, passed away on May 30, 2018

Richard Ivan “Smitty” Smith, 84, passed away on May 30, 2018.
Richard was born on Sept. 26, 1933 in El Dorado, the son of Ivan and Lottie Smith. He graduated from Butler Junior College in 1953.  He was the captain and center of the basketball team, and that  team won the NJCAA National Championship in 1953.  After graduating from Butler Junior College, Richard was nominated and accepted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  There he majored in engineering and was a pitcher on the baseball team.  A tall, left hander, Richard pitched and won many games for the Midshipman against teams such as: Army, Harvard, Princeton, and Colgate.   Upon graduation from the Naval Academy Richard was appointed to the United States Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He learned to fly and in 1962 he earned the rank of Captain and became an instructor pilot.  Richard then trained new graduates to fly the T-38 Talon at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. Upon his honorable discharge from the service Richard spent many years  using his engineering degree working with Trane, ITT Nesbitt, Lennox and Trion.  His family finally settled in Sanford, NC  in 1977.  
Richard was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.  He loved and adored his wife Marybeth of 56 years.  He loved and supported his four children and two grandchildren.  He taught them the basic elements of being good people and hard working. With a twinkle in his eye he would say ”manners the butler” or “it is always a good day if you can put your feet on the floor and smile in the mirror”.   His positivity and good humor were infectious and everyone loved him.  He would sit for hours with his children and their friends telling tales and, laughing, singing Navy songs, giving asked for advice.  He constantly annoyed his 4 children (all graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill) by pulling for Duke just because!  He loved to dance, play Bridge, Hearts, Canasta and board games. He pulled for the New York Yankees.  Most of all, he loved spending time with his wife and family.  Richard also gave back to the community.  He coached Little League Baseball, he volunteered countless hours at St. Luke United Methodist Church,  Highway to Healing of Lee County, Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County, and his grandchildren’s elementary school.
He was predeceased by the love of his life of 56 years, Marybeth Smith; his brother Roger A. Smith of Kansas; and his parents.  
He is survived by: his children, Julie (John) Markovich of Raleigh, NC, Michael R. Smith of Saluda, NC, Laura (John) Williams of Saluda, NC, Pamela A. Smith of Oxford, NC ; two grandchildren, Mary Gayge Markovich and Keith Michael Markovich; his sister, Kay Mairs of Dallas Texas;and several nieces and nephews.
The celebration of Richard’s life will be held  at 11 a.m. on Wednesday June 6, 2018 at the Casey Chapel, with family visitation to follow in the church parlor at  St Luke United Methodist Church 2916 Wicker Street, Sanford NC.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Richard’s memory to Highway to Healing 1615 South 3rd Street Sanford, NC 27330 or Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County 2885 Lee Avenue Sanford, NC 27332.