Obituary of Eddie Smith
Eddie Charles "Smitty" Smith was born on November 27, 1935 to the late Emres and Rosie Lee Cole-Smith in Friars Point, Mississippi.
Smitty joined Union Grove M. B. Church under the leadership of the late Dr. L. C. Tyler.
He attended Friars Point Elementary School, Aggie High School and Coahoma Junior College. Later, he attended and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and graduate credits from Tennessee State University in Nashville, a Master's Degree in Cell Physiology from the University of Mississippi, and a Specialist Degree in Bio-Chemistry from the University of Mississippi.
Before launching a teaching career, Smitty had planned on attending medical school in Chicago, but no money and funds were available. Instead he accepted a position at Carver High School in Columbus, TN, teaching general science, chemistry and biology for five years, directing the drill team, photographing athletic events and selling novelty item for extra income. On weekends and during summers, he studied at numerous schools: Moorehead State, Texas Southern, Oakridge, Christian Brothers, the University of Southern Illinois, and he became a National Science Fellow. In 1965, he was accepted into graduate school at the University of Mississippi and in the spring of 1966, he began his distinguished career in education teaching science at Coahoma Community College. Additionally, he taught General Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Nutrition.
Included among the sacrifices Smitty personally reflected on were the lunch counter sit-in demonstrations while attending Tennessee State in Nashville and the James Meredith voter registration marches following the integration of Ole Miss. As a work study student in Law School at the University of Mississippi, Smitty was the only African-American enrolled there at the time.
In the early 1970s, Smitty jumped into Coahoma County Democratic Party politics, was elected supervisor from Beat 4, and continued in office until 2004. With his long tenure in office, Smitty had rapport with state legislators and was instrumental in gaining support for many projects at Coahoma including the Allied Health Center and the Coahoma Higher Education Center.
As a student and faculty, Smitty served under four presidents in the capacity of science teacher, alumni director, and sports announcer as Voice of the Tigers. He also became immersed in the Humanities and Lyceum enrichment programs; he excelled in photography embraced initially for the College yearbook, and he supervised student recruitment. As a student at Coahoma Junior College, he played basketball and football, sang in the choir, and played saxophone and tuba in the band. He was proud of the progress made at Coahoma and the direction the college is taking. He desired more aggressive recruitment in elite academic areas and athletes. Smitty also challenged individuals who benefited from an education at Coahoma to spread the word about its excellence - to give something back - dollars and children as future students. "Look your best, behave appropriately, and talk to students like a surrogate parent," were his words of advice to student recruiters.
He was preceded in death by his father, Emres Smith; his mother, Rosie Lee Cole-Smith; grandmother, Lessie Brooks, and his brother, Robert Cole.
Smitty is survived by his wife, Nancy Williams Smith of Clarksdale, Mississippi; three sons, Marti and Marcellas Smith of Durham, North Carolina and Joseph Spencer of Clarksdale, Mississippi; one niece/daughter, Mandolin Smith of Clarksdale, Mississippi; one granddaughter/daughter, Jori Spencer Smith and one granddaughter, Kamryn Smith of Clarksdale, Mississippi; four grandsons, Jamon Smith and Noah Smith of Durham, North Carolina, Jordan Bailey and Korben Wade of Clarksdale, Mississippi; seven sisters-in-laws, and three brothers-in-law. He also leaves a special son and friend, Brian James of Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Visitation will be held 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. Friday May 18, 2018 at Union Grove M.B. Church in Clarksdale, MS. The funeral service will be held 2:00 P.M. Saturday May 19, 2018 at the Coahoma Community College Pinnacle in Clarksdale, MS with burial in Heavenly Rest Cemetery. Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale, MS is handling the arrangements.