Scotland County’s children have lost one of their most fervent advocates with the passing of Gene Smith.
Smith, 72, died on April 1 in Florence, S.C.
A native of West Virginia, he held a doctorate in early childhood education, and spent nearly 30 years as a professor of education at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Smith retired from teaching in 2004.
Since his retirement, Smith continued to live in Laurinburg, devoting his time to the promotion of child development and welfare. He worked with a number of local organizations, including Richmond Community College, Smart Start, Hospice of Scotland County, and Operation Christmas Child. He also served as a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Laurinburg.
“He was a very energetic person with many interests,” said Sylvia Stewart, a fellow member of First Baptist. “In church, he served as a deacon and a Sunday school teacher, and was instrumental in starting and organizing WEE Care, a daycare center in our church. He did that for over 20 years. He and his wife Nancy also counseled youth and made a tremendous impact on their lives through the years.”
In recent years, he also organized a memorial concert at First Baptist Church in memory of his wife, Nancy S. Smith.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church.