Jack Smith, 91, of Dallas and formerly of Athens, died peacefully at his home on January 23, 2017, after a lengthy illness. He was born October 17, 1925, in the Baxter community to Ben F. and Mary Mills Smith as one of 11 children. His birth name was Raymond Hodge Smith, which he quickly changed to Jack, and Jack he remained for the rest of his life.
He was a small business owner in Dallas for over 30 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lelia Ann and infant son Jack Jr., his parents, brothers Ben, Jr., Lloyd, Conn and Glenn, sisters Juanita Westbrook and Peggy Starkes. He is survived by his son, Mark Smith, grandson Lyle Smith, one great-granddaughter, sisters Doris Cure and Jean Richman, brothers Max and Jimmy and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was a WWII army war veteran entering in March, 1944. He joined the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Div. As the Holland Campaign was winding down. He fought at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland Campaign, Southern Germany and Austria serving in a machine gun platoon of the 3rd Bat. When the 101st was inactivated, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Div. And sent first to Berlin, and then to England at war's end. He boarded the Queen Mary on Christmas Day, 1945, and arrived in New York to take part I the Victory Parade down Fifth Ave. on January 11, 1946. He then came home to Athens. He had just recently turned 20.
The 506th was later immortalized in print and film as the BAND OF BROTHERS. Before his death, Jack was one of only a handful of 506th veterans still living who held Bastogne.
His decorations included the European Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars, four Battle Stars, Victory Ribbon, Presidential Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Unit Badge, Parachute Infantry Wings, Combat Infantryman, Badge with Arrowhead and Good Conduct Badge. Belgium awarded him the 506th two Belgium Croix de Guerre and the Belgium Forragere.
At the deceased request, there will be no funeral service. He requested cremation, and both his requests will be respectfully honored. Jack was a devoted Christian and a good man. His cremated remains will be buried in the Athens Cemetery beside his wife and son.