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Richard was born on September 26th, 1933 in El Dorado, Kansas the son of Ivan and Lottie Smith. He graduated from Butler Junior College in 1953.  There he was the captain and center of the basketball team.  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, North Carolina 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.

Richard I Smith 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 four 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 ; and his two grandchildren: Mary Gayge Markovich, and Keith Michael Markovich.  He is also survived by his sister, Kay Mairs of Dallas Texas, and several nieces and nephews.

The celebration of Richard’s life will be held Wednesday June 6th 2018 at 11am in 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


Mr. Richard Ivan Smith passed May 30, 2018 at White Oak Manor in Burlington, North Carolina.
Memorial Service
Wednesday June 6, 2018 @ 11:00 a.m.
Casey Chapel at St. Luke United Methodist Church
2916 Wicker Street
Sanford, NC  27330

A visitation will follow in the Church Parlor

Richard Smith
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  • Wednesday, May 30, 2018
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ American Cremation Services, Inc.
  • Saturday, June 02, 2018
    I am so sorry for your loss! Your dad and mom were very special people. I have been truly blessed to have known both of them. I will never forget how very proud they were of each and everyone of you !!! . "Pamie'". As your dad would say, Thank u for letting me know . May God give you all the strength that only he can provide and may you feel his love now and forever. I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. 🙏❤️ Always.
    ~ Beth Holder   Lillington