William Terrell “Terry” Smith, 82, of Shreveport, La., passed away peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, following a long battle with Parkinson’s Dementia.
Terry is survived by his wife of 61 years, Paula (Norwood Smith), his two children, Terry Jr. (wife-Christy) and Stephanie (Smith Sanders, husband-Thomas), his four grandchildren, Ellison & Porter (Smith) and William & Mary Ella (Sanders), his two brothers, Floyd and Charlie (Smith), and many other family members whom he dearly loved.
A native of Mineral Springs, Ark., Terry was born on March 15, 1941, to William Grady Smith and Virginia Lay Smith. He graduated from Mineral Springs High School in 1959 and attended College of the Ozarks in Clarksville where was on a football and track scholarship. In 1962, he married his hometown sweetheart, Paula Norwood, and the two moved to Fayetteville, Ark., where he earned a masters degree in Physical Education.
Terry loved his family, football, golf and duck hunting. He started his head coaching/athletic director career at Prairie Grove, Ark., before moving to Lewisville High School, and then Perryville, Mo., where he led the team to their first State Championship. After five years in Sikeston, Mo., Terry moved his young family back to Arkansas in 1978 to accept a job as Head Football Coach/Athletic Director at Fairview High School in Camden. Terry loved his players like family — a “Coach Smith” tradition throughout his career was the night before game days each week, he and Paula would host dinners for players in their home to nourish their bodies and souls. After leaving his coaching career, Terry went on to work in the railcar business where he had his own company, Diversified Railcar, for many years.
One to never boast, the kindness, goodness, selflessness, and generosity Terry granted others most often went without acknowledgement — taking football player(s) into his home for an extended time when able to offer shelter, assistance, encouragement; paying anonymously for a “scholarship” unbeknownst to the recipient so that they could live on campus at their college; covering travel expenses for someone needing to get to the aid of a child; giving up and sacrificing for himself so that another could have the ease and benefit from his unselfish generosity. His goodness, kindness and lovable nature stayed with him even as his disease took hold — he was so revered and loved by those who knew him.
His most loved role besides husband and father was that of being “Pop.” He was over-the-moon in love and proud of his four grandchildren. Looking back at pictures of Terry— he most always had a pleasant grin on his face, but where he had the biggest-toothy-complete-face-smile was when he was in a photograph with his grandchildren. He cherished any time he could spend with them. He loved setting up Easter egg hunts, teaching them to swim or ride a bike, pushing them in strollers and swings, taking them fishing, and cheering them on at their various events.
The family would like to thank all of Terry’s dedicated caregivers, sitters, nurses, and the entire staff at the Chateaus at Montclair memory care facility and St. Joseph’s Hospice. Your tireless and respectful care, love, compassion and kindness were a blessing not only to Terry, but also to the entire family.
Terry loved a good party when family and friends would get together, so his family will be hosting a Celebration of Life gathering on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 12-4 p.m. at the Shreveport home of his daughter, Stephanie Smith Sanders (husband-Thomas).
If you feel moved to make a memorial donation — the family encourages you to consider The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at http://www.michaeljfox.org.
“Check ya later.”