The Obit For Pete Smith

Leonard "Pete" Smith

Published in The Daily Sentinel on November 18, 2011

Funeral services for Mr. Leonard Leslie "Pete" Smith, 78, of Nacogdoches will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, at Laird Funeral Home with the Rev. Dock Lazarine officiating.

Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Park.

Visitation will be from 6 until 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011.

Leonard "Pete" Smith was born on July 17, 1933, in San Augustine to the late Leslie and Bertha Allen Smith. He passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in Nacogdoches, surrounded by his loving family.

Pete grew up in Denning and he graduated from San Augustine High School in 1952. Pete was an avid baseball player having played for San Augustine High School. He served his country from 1954 until 1957 in the United States Army during the Korean War.

Pete attended Sam Houston State on a baseball scholarship, and played there for one season before being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1957.

Upon a career ending injury, Pete went back to school at SFA where he earned a double major in physical education and history. He later earned a masters degree in administration. His first coaching job was at Andrews High School in 1963, and remained the head baseball coach until 1969. Pete returned to SFA in 1969 as the Assistant Dean of Men.

In 1974 he moved into the housing department and became the Director of Housing in 1979. During this time he remained active in the Nacogdoches Youth Baseball program. He took three teams to the Dixie Youth World Series, winning the championship in 1980, finishing second in 1982, and taking third in 1983.

In 1989, Pete retired as the Director of Housing to devote his full attention to SFA as the head baseball coach. Being at the helm of the Lumberjack baseball team was the perfect ending to his career at SFA in 1992. Baseball was in his blood.

After retiring from SFA, he continued to coach his granddaughter's softball teams till the age of 75 and was the hitting coach at the state playoffs.

Along with Pete's love for baseball, he also loved to hunt and fish. Pete had spent many a day on Sam Rayburn and Lake Nacogdoches, and he really didn't mind who went with him as long as they were prepared to leave early and stay late.

Pete was a loving husband, father and grandfather who adored his family tremendously and they as well as all those Pete coached through the years. He was greatly respected as a family man, a coach and a mentor and all who knew Pete will miss him.

He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Rochelle Burgess Smith of Nacogdoches; son, Craig Smith and wife, Lindy of Ocean Springs, Miss; daughter, Shawna Rochelle Braselton of Nacogdoches; four grandchildren, Hunter Smith, Saylor Ann Smith, Taylor Ann Braselton and Margaret "Ashlyn" Braselton; two brothers, Chester Smith and wife, Linda of Nacogdoches and Vester Smith and wife, Elise of Jasper; two sisters, Joy Hill and husband, Haskell of Queens City and Jeanene Landrum and husband, Jerry of Nacogdoches; special friends, Ms. Willie Garrett, Coach Gay McKnutt and Dr. W.E. Furniss; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and other extended family and good friends.

In addition to his parents, Leslie and Bertha Smith, he was preceded in death by an infant son, James Allen Smith and his father and mother-in-law, Steve and Lillian Burgess.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Pete's honor may be made to the Nacogdoches Youth Dixie Baseball Association, PO Box 630515, Nacogdoches, Texas 75963 or the Nacogdoches Youth Girls Softball Association, 3815 Parkwood, Nacogdoches, Texas 75965.

Pallbearers will be Gary Jones, Howard Kurtz, Darwin Crawford, David Griffin, Mark Mahaffey, Chester Smith, Jr., Leon Hill and Randy Wiggins. Honorary pallbearers will be James Harkness, Harlon Smith, Roy Rigby, Dan Cowan, Lavonne Lunsford, James Earl Allen and Ray Rinker. Laird Funeral Home.