Smither remembered

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Edward Smither’s life touched hundreds.

He worked for decades to not only improve


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Suffolk, but the areas around it as well. By all accounts, Smither made the world a better place.

&uot;How are we going to remember Ed?&uot; asked Rev. Billy Presley, who performed the marriage of Smither to his wife Donna back in 1985, at Smither’s funeral Tuesday at Lakeland High School where Smither was the activities director and former head football coach. &uot;I jotted down a few things.

&uot;The first was that Ed was a perfectionist to the core,&uot; Presley said to a jammed side of the Lakeland football stadium. &uot;He had to have everything just right. He was a quiet, inward individual; I’m not sure that he liked crowds, except at a football or basketball game.

&uot;Ed was a good coach,&uot; said Presley of Smither, who coached dozens of recreational softball teams. &uot;He would not accept losing, it was not in his vocabulary. He yelled at his kids, but then we always saw him with his arm around them.

&uot;Ed was a great dad (to his two daughters). He was the kids’ biggest fan. He was always there, whatever the situation, and he radiated when they did well, and they did well very often.&uot;

Last week, the city school board presented Smither with a Star award. Given to two individuals per quarter, the honor is presented to those who have given extraordinary service to their respective students. Aside from his work at Lakeland, Smither was instrumental in the Holland Athletic Association, helped start the Suffolk Sting softball team for youngsters from around the area, and aided in programs in Sussex, Franklin, Isle of Wight and other nearby places.

&uot;It is impossible to imagine our school without the presence of Ed,&uot; said principal Thomas Whitley. &uot;He loved his school, and took great pride in maintaining our campus and overseeing all of our activities. I will be forever grateful for the time that God allowed me to spend with him. He was a giant of a man, one who truly cared for his students.

&uot;We hope that you will find comfort in knowing that God is too wise and merciful to ever make a mistake,&uot; Whitley said to Smither’s family. &uot;We know that the coming days and months will be difficult. However, we believe that if you keep your hands in God’s hands, everything will be all right.

&uot;I find comfort in knowing that Ed is finally getting the rest that he so richly deserves. We will miss his physical presence; however, his spirit will live on in the heartys and souls of all who loved and respected him.

&uot;It is my belief that God decided to take a walk through the garden of life and he paused to pick one of his most precious flowers and took him home.&uot;