Norman Earl SmithMay 27, 1917 - August 05, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE - Norman Earl "Coach" Smith, of Fayetteville, passed away Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, in Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
Born May 27, 1917, in Micro, he was preceded in death by his mother and father, Harvey and Madie Smith; and his younger siblings, Clinnon, Floyd, David, Virgie, Pauline and Ed.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Florence Smith. He also is survived by his children, Ann Burrows of Greenville, David Smith and wife Linda of New Orleans, and Robert Smith of Charleston, S.C.; his stepchildren, Pamela Richards and husband Milani of Fayetteville and Mary Whitfield and husband Robert of Augusta, Ga.; and his grandchildren, Scott Burrows, Melissa Marshburn and husband Christopher, Imogen Myslinski and husband Ryan, Mayde Pokorny and husband Dan, Blake Richards, Katherine Richards, Errol Smith, Sasha Watkins and husband John, Brian Whitfield, and Kristin Whitfield and 4 great-grandchildren.
"Coach" Earl Smith had a prolific career in college sports, spanning more than 40 years and culminating in his induction into the Pirate Hall of Fame at East Carolina University in 1977, the Campbell University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986 and, finally, the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. After retiring as a coach, he became a professional baseball scout for the San Diego Padres.
He was a Navy veteran.
"Coach" Earl Smith's career was both prolific and deeply personal. His players were loved and remembered by him throughout his entire life, and they honored their coach throughout the many years following their respective seasons. He was very proud of his career as coach, scout and teacher, but this pride was rooted not in his accomplishments, but rather in the relationships he cultivated and the lives he influenced.
Much like his professional career, Earl Smith's personal life was something to be honored and revered, as well. He was a loving and strong father to each of his children and stepchildren; a devoted and generous grandfather to every grandchild, always eager to share a story of glory and grandeur in all its varieties; and a thoughtful friend and companion to those closest to him and any sort of curious soul.
And in a life filled with so much regard, there was one spotlight Earl shone on one special person: his wife, Florence Smith. In the 30 years they spent together, Florence and Earl Smith created the happiest of marriages and friendships with one another, allowing their love to enfold the many people around them.
Earl Smith left this earth on a Sunday, the beginning of the week and the holy day, the day we reserve for love. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be made to Campbell University Athletic Department or the East Carolina University Athletic Department.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, in Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home chapel, with the Rev. Sherrill Boykin, the Rev. J.P. Johnson and Dr. Dickey Parrish officiating. Burial will follow in Cumberland Memorial Gardens. The family will receive family and friends from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.