American Veteran 01

Gerald Ray Smith

October 4, 1940 ~ April 18, 2022 (age 81)


Gerald Ray Smith, 81, passed away at the Laurels of Chatham, Monday afternoon, April 18, 2022, in Pittsboro, NC. 

A native of Chatham County, Gerald was born October 4, 1940, to the late Margaret Kelly and Pete Smith.  He was a 1959 graduate from Pittsboro High School. From 1961-1965, Gerald honorably served under SAC – Strategic Air Command, servicing planes in the United States Air Force. He was stationed at Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Washington and then Ramey AFB in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.  

In the early 70’s, Gerald was a member of the pit crew in former NASCAR driver, Walter Ballard’s team. In 1971, the team would help Ballard win the Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Series.

With an affinity for air shows and a passion for auto racing, Gerald also was moved by music. He played the drums and most people knew him to be or had seen him in the local group called The Rockets.

Having lived such an excitement filled life, the love of his life came about in 1961, when he was married to the former Frances Clark. They would spend the next 61 years together, fashioning life from their love. Their two sons, Michael and Gregory, both picked up Gerald’s flair for music and played throughout high school, where Gerald was the solid, supportive “Band Parent.”

All of Gerald’s military achievements and early life skills would aid him at his final career working for UNC Hospital. He maintained the logistics of keeping all of the food and supplies stocked and ordered, so that no patient care would suffer for lack of need. He finally retired after a long career of service.

Gerald will be missed by all who knew him. If you got the opportunity to meet him, he left a warm caring impression, setting the example of how a young man should live life and treat his family and friends. His dedication to his work was only surpassed by his willingness to anything that he asked of others.  He was a faithful husband, a loving father and a doting grand and great-grandfather. He is truly missed.

Surviving Gerald is his wife, Frances; sons, Michael Ray Smith and Gregory Clark Smith (Marianne); his grandchildren, Lauren, Kristina and Devin; and his great-grandchildren, Lily, Iris, Nicole and Charles; along with several nieces and nephews.

A Service honoring the life and memories of Gerald Ray Smith will be held 2:00PM Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at Browns Chapel United Methodist Church in Pittsboro, NC with the Rev. Ray Gooch officiating.

Donaldson Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the Smith family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:

Brown's Chapel UMC Cemetery Fund

P. O. Box 1048

Pittsboro, NC 27312

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