Coach Jerry Foster Smith, 84, lifetime resident of Calhoun-Gordon County and longtime football coach, passed away on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at AdventHealth Gordon.
Coach Smith was born in downtown Red Bud, Ga. on Oct. 9, 1934, son of the late Mabel Foster Everett and Eugene Smith. In addition to his parents, Coach Smith was preceded in death by his step-father, Charlie Everett; his infant son, Thurman Chitwood Smith; his sister, Jackie Smith McEntyre; nephew, Greg McEntyre; brother-in-law Frank Walraven; and sister-in-law Joy Chitwood Powell.
Coach Smith was a retired educator and coach and a lifelong resident of Calhoun and Gordon County. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, teacher, coach, storyteller, columnist, man of God, friend and so much more.
Coach Smith grew up competing in athletics from a young age. He played multiple sports at Calhoun High and after graduation he attended Florida Christian College before eventually graduating from University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He had several different jobs over the years, but the majority of his work came in education as he taught at Red Bud High School and Calhoun High School. He served as a youth football coach for the Golden Bears and Blue Raiders and as a head coach at Red Bud High and Calhoun High. He was also the athletic director at Calhoun High before retiring in 1994.
Coach Smith loved his hometown of Calhoun and was extremely proud to tell people where he was from. Furthermore, he loved Calhoun High School and supported Yellow Jackets Athletics across the board, being especially proud of his wife Diane and her Lady Jacket Softball Team. He would brag to anyone who would listen about Diane’s softball, coaching and athletic accomplishments, and one of his favorite things to do was make the trip to Columbus to watch Lady Jackets Softball compete in the Elite Eight. He was equally proud of all his kids and grandkids and their accomplishments as well.
Coach Smith loved to tell stories about the past to family, friends and anyone else he could get to listen. He told many of those stories in his column, which he wrote for the local paper regularly for almost 50 years. He loved to read the paper as well, including local, state and national newspapers. But he mostly loved to read The Bible and implement verses and lessons into everyday life.
Coach Smith loved taking trips with his family and talked of his many trips to Nashville with wife Diane glowingly, including getting the chance to meet and spend time with legendary country music singer Eddy Arnold. He loved taking trips to see his grandkids and great grandkids and loved spending time with his family in general. He also held a special place in his heart and enjoyed time with his dog Piper in his later years.
Coach Smith fought and defeated cancer in the last couple years, overcoming several setbacks and surgeries in the process. Coach Smith was a fighter in every sense of the word, not only physically, but also always sticking up for those he held dear to his heart, and battling for them no matter what the case was.
There are so many other things Coach Smith did in his years on Earth, but the biggest thing that he did was make an impact on the people around him, whether that be his family, friends, students, players or anyone else he came in contact with.
Survivors include his wife, Diane Ralston Smith; his children - son, Jeffery Smith and his daughter and son-in-law, Summer and Frank Mills; his step-daughters, Jaime Garrett and her husband, Dan, and Kayla Ralston; his twin sister, Kayanne Smith Walraven; a brother-in-law, Pruney McEntyre; four grandchildren: Clint Smith and his wife, Christina, and their son, Silas, Lambert Smith, Jared Mills and his wife, Keli, and their children Lainey and Lyla, Lauren Turbeville and her husband, Jordan, and their children Hudson and Hallie; his nieces and nephews: Melody McEntyre West and her sons Clay and Tyler, Corey and Lauren McEntyre, Robby McEntyre, Kacee McEntyre, Valerie and Randy Jackson and their son Rhett (Mayla) Jackson, George and Ginger Walraven and their sons Drew (Kristen) Walraven and Bart (Megan) Walraven, Grant and Julie Walraven and their children Macy and Lex; the mother of his children, Nita Chitwood Smith; sister-in-law Mescal Chitwood Medders; nieces Melea (Danny) Tennant and India (Hugh) Galyean; nephews Jule (Joy) Medders, Bret (Shelly) Medders, Monty (Anna) Powell and Eben Powell; brothers-in-law Billy Crocker and Randy Crocker; and his beloved companion, Piper.
Visitation will be held at Calhoun Church of Christ, located at 1301 Dews Pond Road SE, on Friday, May 17 from 4 – 8 p.m.
Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 3 p.m. at Calhoun Church of Christ, with Frank Mills, Jule Medders and Tony Timms conducting the ceremony. Pallbearers include Clint Smith, Lambert Smith, Jared Mills, Jordan Turbeville, George Walraven and Bret Medders. Honorary Pallbearers include Grant Walraven, Olen Holmes, Mike Garigan, Terry Ralston, Stevie Robbins, Andy Bowen, Buzzy McMillan, Larry House and Terry Weldon.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Calhoun Lady Jackets Softball Program Attn: Bookkeeper Carrie Wells at Calhoun High School 355 S. River St Calhoun Ga, 30701, Ronnie Huckeba Indoor Athletic Facility Attn: Jeffery Smith at Harding University P.O. Box 12238, Searcy, AR 72149 and Calhoun Church of Christ.
You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com
Thomas Funeral Home oversees the arrangements for Jerry Foster Smith, age 84, of Calhoun.