Mr. William Dickey Smith, 77, of Lillington entered his Heavenly home surrounded by his loving family on December 30, 2021.
Dickey is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Jane; his sons; Josh Smith and wife Katie, Joey Smith and wife April; grandchildren, Ezra, Tad, Zoe and Ella; his brother Larry Smith and wife Jennie, and a multitude of extended family that he loved dearly. Dickey was preceded in death by his father, Edwin Lawrence Smith and mother, Flora Ann West Smith of Erwin.
Dickey was a sports fanatic. His namesake was the late Bill Dickey of the New York Yankees. He was known to many as “Coach”. He coached pee wee, little league, middle school, high school baseball, soccer, and football. His love for sports was shared by his wife Jane, who every Sunday after services at the Lillington United Methodist Church would prepare a massive snack tray to be consumed while watching NFL Sunday.
Dickey was the foundation of his family, a pillar of his community, and staple of the school system. After graduating Erwin High School, he joined the United States Navy and served 4 years as a Corpsman on an aircraft carrier, the USS Randolph. This adventure led him to the Bay of Pigs invasion, to the bedside of US President Lyndon B. Johnson as an EKG technician, and to the heart of Jane Ilene Harris Smith, a beautiful intern he met in Washington, D.C. They were married on June 8, 1968 and remained happily together for 53 years until his passing. After his tenure with the US Navy, he attended Campbell College earning his bachelor’s in education and Master of Administration that started a lifelong career with Harnett County Schools. He was a teacher, principal, and innovator, helping start the Harnett County Alternative School (STAR Academy). He served so many as a Mason, Lion’s Club (Lion of the Year) and VFW member. Dickey also was an active member of Lillington United Methodist Church for 53 years serving in many leadership roles. He had many hobbies that included playing golf using the wrong hand, eating ice cream by the bucketful, woodworking, and fishing. He was absolutely at home on the water whether it was on his center console boat, his Jon boat, or wading in the Cape Fear as a child hunting squirrels with his friends.
But his biggest love were his sons Josh and Joey. Twin boys that needed a father; and got the best Daddy on the planet. He was supportive of their dreams and sacrificed what he could to help them succeed. Josh and Joey found their soul mates which gave him two daughters, Katie and April. Not “in laws” mind you, but his girls. Of all the titles Dickey has held, the one he cherished the most was that of “PaPa”. Tad, Ezra, Zoe and Ella were the light of his life and gave him joy, love, and great hugs.
Dickey’s last request was to be loved and to have peace. Mission accomplished. Go Rest High on that Mountain, PaPa.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday, January 2, 2022, at Lillington United Methodist Church with Rev. Kent Miller officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the church fellowship hall.
Memorials may be made to Lillington UMC Church, P.O. Box 506, Lillington, NC 27546 or the Harnett Health Foundation, 800 Tilghman Dr. Dunn, NC 28334
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