Rev. William Gary Smith remembered

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rev. William Gary Smith was the long-time pastor of First Baptist Church of Carriere.

After 52 years of serving the community, Smith passed away Friday, June 17 at the age of 78.

Brother Gary, as the community affectionately called him, was known for his service work in the church and around the county.

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He founded the volunteer fire department in Carriere and began a television ministry called “To Learn the Bible” which airs on WLOX Sunday mornings. Other than the news department, Smith’s program is the longest running program on WLOX, said Jane Emanuel who worked with him for 35 years.

“We’re family,” said Emanuel. “When he hurt we hurt, and when we hurt he hurt.”

Smith led numerous summer programs and Bible study courses along with other community projects.

“He’s done so much that I don’t even know about,” said his daughter Cindy Smith. “He was such a passionate person, he burned his whole life out for God. That’s what we’re all supposed to do.”

A husband and father to three children, Gary Smith was always called by the community to attend funerals, weddings, and surgeries.

“I had to learn when I was about 7 how to share him with everybody. And that’s kind of what you do with God, you have to share him with everybody,” said Cindy Smith.

Smith contributed a lot to the community. If someone said they needed something, he would help them in any way he could, said Cindy Smith.

“He loved everybody,” said Cindy Smith.

Gary Smith and his wife, Bobbi, came to Carriere to be interviewed for the pastor position at First Baptist Church after they were first married.

“After we came, we stayed, through all the trials and tribulations,” said his wife Bobbi Smith.

His mother had a special influence on him at a young age. Growing up in Meridian, he would walk barefoot with his mother for a mile down to church every Sunday, said Cindy Smith.

“When I was a little girl I used to hold his finger with my hand and go to hospitals with him when he didn’t have a babysitter,” said Cindy Smith.

Gary Smith leaves behind 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

For about a year, he had been feeling weak, said Bobbi Smith.

“He had gone through so much pain,” said Bobbi Smith.

In 1986 he was in a car accident that left him with a bulged disk, among other persistent pains, said Cindy Smith.

Rev. William Gary Smith and his wife Bobbi Joe Golden Smith were married for 59 years, she said.

“We met in the sixth grade,” said Bobbi Smith.

She moved to Mississippi from Arkansas after her mother’s death and father’s remarriage.

“I started school there where he was, we met when the principal carried me into the classroom to introduce me,” said Bobbi Smith. “I had to go back to Arkansas and live with one of my sisters and I told them I planned to marry him.”

Funeral services were held Sunday at First Baptist Church of Carriere. Gary Smith was buried in the Carriere Cemetery later that day.

“We can all stick together as one and start trying to do what daddy did by himself to keep going,” said Cindy Smith. “We sent my earthly father to my heavenly father on Father’s Day.”

The family wants to thank the community for their support during Gary Smith’s illness and passing. Their flowers, food, and especially their prayers are very appreciated by the family.

About Julia Arenstam

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