The Obit For Earl Smith

Norman Earl "Coach" Smith

Published in The Daily Reflector on August 7, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE - Norman Earl "Coach" Smith passed away Sunday, August 5, 2012 at Cape Fear Valley Hospital.

Born in Micro on May 27, 1917, he was preceded in death by his mother and father Harvey and Madie Smith; and his younger siblings, Clinnon, Floyd, David, Virgie, Pauline, and Ed.

His is survived by his devoted wife, Florence Smith. He is also survived by his children, Ann Burrows of Greenville, David Smith and wife, Linda, of New Orleans, and Robert Smith of Charleston, S.C.; stepchildren, Pamela Richards and husband, Milani, of Fayetteville and Mary Whitfield and husband, Robert, of Augusta, Ga.; and grandchildren, Scott Burrows, Melissa Marshburn and husband, Christopher, Imogen Myslinski and Ryan, Mayde Pokorny and husband, Dan, Blake Richards, Katherine Richards, Errol Smith, Sasha Watkins and husband, John, Brian Whitfield, and Kristin Whitfield.

"Coach" Earl Smith had a prolific career in college sports spanning over 30 years and culminating in his induction into the Pirate Hall of Fame in 1977, the Campbell University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986, and finally the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

After retiring as a coach he became a professional baseball scout for the San Diego Padres.

"Coach" Earl Smith's career was both prolific and deeply personal. His players were loved and remembered by him throughout his entire life, and they honored their coach throughout the many years following their respectable seasons. He was very proud of his career as a coach, scout, and teacher, but this pride was rooted not in his accomplishments, but rather the relationships he cultivated and the lives he influenced.

Much like his professional career, Earl Smith's personal life was something to be honored and revered as well. He was a loving and strong father to each of his children and step-children; a devoted and generous grandfather to every grandchild, always eager to share a story of glory and grandeur in all its varieties; and a thoughtful friend and companion to those closest to him and any sort of curious soul.

And in a life filled with so much regard there was one spotlight Earl shown on one special person: his wife Florence Smith. In the 30 years they spent together, Florence and Earl Smith created the happiest of marriages and friendships with one another, allowing their love to enfold the many people around them. Earl Smith left this earth on a Sunday, the beginning of the week and the holy day, the day we reserve for love.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Campbell University Athletic Department and East Carolina University Athletic Department.
Funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Jernigan-Warren Chapel with the Rev. Sherrill Boykin, the Rev. J.P. Johnson, and Dr. Dickey Parrish, officiating. Burial will follow in Cumberland Memorial Gardens. The family will receive family and friends at the funeral home Wednesday from 11 a.m. till 12:45 p.m.

Services entrusted to Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home.