Don was born Oct. 27, 1928 in Rockingham, a son of the late Harvey and Ola Mae Baldwin Smith. He was a 1948 graduate of Georgia Military Academy, and attended Southern Tech. Don is best remembered within the community as the long time operator of S&S Wheel and Tire Service.
Along with his parents, Don was preceded in death by two brothers, William T. Smith in 1999, and Marshall Smith in 1926; and a sister, Marjorie S. Morris, in 2003. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Nancy Rankin Smith; two sons, Douglas H. Smith and his wife, Robin, of Rockingham, and William H. Smith and his wife, Rachel of Enka, NC; one grandson, Benjamin Bradley (Brad) Smith of Enka; one sister, Mildred (Tess) Poe of Durham, NC; and, by numerous nieces and nephews.
Don served his country in the U. S. Army during the Korean conflict, 1952-1953, before resuming work with his Dad in the family’s auto repair business. Professionally, nothing gave him greater satisfaction than meeting the challenges involved in making crooked wheels go straight, unwanted vehicle noises go quiet, and vibrations go smooth. So many of his happiest moments were spent in his shop under an automobile chassis, a wrench in his hand, and a smudge of grease on his bald head, trading stories, wisdom, and many chuckles with old friends and long time customers.
Don’s love of tinkering and new challenges extended well beyond his beloved shop. A solo pilot’s license in the early 1950’s led to his renewed interest in flying 20 years later, and a private pilots license. A childhood interest in electronics led him in adulthood to constructing kit projects including radios, oscilloscopes, and a color television. Don was a licensed ham radio operator, and, his fascination with personal computers, beginning in the early 1980’s, provided him many hours of satisfaction and new friendships in that endeavor.
Don loved his associations both with the First Baptist Church of Rockingham, where he taught Sunday School in his younger adult years; and his later one with the First United Methodist Church, where he was a member of the Ledbetter Men’s Bible Class. He was a member of the Rockingham Masonic Lodge for nearly 42 years, serving as Master during 1989.
Along with Nancy, he loved the hours spent with close friends and family, along with the traveling they were able to enjoy.
Memorials may be made to the church or charity of your choice. Online condolences may be sent to www.carterfuneral.net.
- Paid obituary