In Loving Memory
Joe Edward Smith
2/15/29 – 7/1/22
Virtual Celebration of Life
Watch Video Recording of Celebration of Life
Joe Edward Smith was born to John and Lillis Smith on February 15, 1929 in the Greenbriar farming community, five miles from Madisonville, Texas. He was the fourth of six children. Joe attended Mitchell Chapel School. The school was named after Joe Mitchell, Joe’s maternal grandfather, who donated the land and built the two-room school in 1895 to educate his ten children and others in the community. At age ten, he traveled to Prairie View to participate in a spelling bee. Because of his outstanding academic progress, he was promoted two grades. Joe’s father, John, sold the farm and moved the family to Beaumont, Texas in 1944. He attended Charlton Pollard High School where he played football and was the Salutatorian of his graduating class in 1946. Joe attended Prairie View A&M College on a football scholarship. He majored in Chemistry and was elected President of the Junior class. He was instrumental in changing the Miss Prairie View criteria from fund raising to a student body popular vote. Joe was among the top students at Prairie View and was awarded “Best Science Student.” He was also voted “Best Dressed Student” by his classmates. He graduated in May of 1950 with a B.S. degree in Chemistry.
Joe was a distinguished military student and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. In May 1951, he graduated from the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He was ordered to report to the 4th Infantry Division in Germany. Joe served in this capacity as an infantry platoon leader. In 1952, he was relieved from the mandatory active-duty requirements and returned to the United States.
Joe attended graduate school at Prairie A&M University with a major in Public School Administration and began his teaching career as a science teacher and head coach at Lincoln Junior High School on Beaumont, Texas. He was promoted to Assistant Principal after his first year of teaching. In 1966-68, Joe served as Principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Beaumont.
In 1968-69, Joe served as Director of the Prairie View A&M University Desegregation Institute. It was a multi-cultural program that included teacher groups from Brookshire, Hempstead, Navasota and Waller Independent School Districts. The institute helped schools solve problems following the desegregation of public schools. In 1969-70, Joe served as student teacher supervisor at the University of Houston School of Education. In addition, he completed the residential requirement for the Doctoral Degree Program at the University of Houston.
As a result of the Prairie View Desegregation Institute experiences, Joe was employed as a School Desegregation Specialist for the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C. In 1970, he was subsequently transferred to the regional office in Dallas. Joe and Opal raised their four children in Dallas.
Joe was a passionate golfer who enjoyed playing with golfing buddies and close friends A.T Miller, L.O. Kennedy and Arthur Matherson. He was member of the Pro Duffers Golf Association – Dallas Chapter and often taught young kids in the community the game he loved dearly, including his own children. He attended St. John Baptist Church in Dallas and was a volunteer with the Bethlehem Foundation. Joe was a mason and member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He loved quotes that were passed down to him by his mother. For example, “If a task is once begun never leave it until it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all.” Also, “Love many, trust few. Always paddle your own canoe” He was a lifetime member of the PTA and was an advocate for his own children as well as the children of his community. He had high expectations for his children and held teachers and administrators accountable for the proper education of all children.
In 1958, Joe married Opal Johnson. They were married for 62 years. They raised four adult children Dr. Kevin Smith, Dr. Gayle Blair, Stanley Smith, MA and Dr. Cedrick Smith. Joe enjoyed watching sports and news programs and spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren: Kara, Alana, Ryan, Donald III, Dillon, Stanley II, Caleb and Hillary.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Prairie View A&M University Golf Team and blackmentalhealth.com.
My prayers are with my family because I have adopted the Smith family as my family I will truly Miss Mr Smith
Selwyn and April Willis
To Gayle, Don and children; to the entire Smith family: our thoughts and prayers are with you. Gayle your Dad was a great servant.
From Selwyn April Trey and Trenten.
Norman E. Dyer, Jr.
Mr. Smith imparted wisdom to neighborhood kids at the family kitchen table on a regular basis. The encouragement and wisdom he provided was life changing for many.
We need more like him.
My sincerest condolences to the Smith family.
Cedrick, I am sorry to hear about your dad. He was one of the most impressive men I have ever met. He lives in you!
Love and miss you Uncle Joe thank you for the gift of golf and your eternal wisdom.
Dearest Kevin, Gail Stanley, and Cedric,
Hugs and much love!
Since you have experienced your mom’s transition, you know those we love are never forgotten
I pray each of you will have the peace of God, the comfort of His Spirit, the hope of His promises, and the joy in the gift of your memories now and always.
I have a picture of your parents when they attended my 50th wedding Anniversary. You may have it if you like.
I zm peacock proud of the men and woman you have become, not because of your professional accomplishments but because you are people of integrity and character and respect.
All my love
My deepest condolences 💐 and prayers.
My sincerest and heartfelt condolences to the family. My dad greatly admired Joe Smith. I will always remember him fondly and am grateful he was there for my dad. God bless.
My sincere condolences to the entire Smith family for your loss. Rest in peace Mr. Smith. You will be missed by all who knew and loved you.
MS. Denise Griffin
On behalf of New Life Fellowship Comfort & Care ministry, We’d like to let the family know you are in our prayers. Good blues you
A devoted husband, a loving father, and doting grzndfather. A man of his word.
Our deepest sympathy to the Smith family. You’re blessed with memories to share for a lifetime.
Redick Edwards & family.
Kevin , Our family sends our prayers and condolences . You father was obviously quite an individual who impacted many lives through his actions. His legacy lives on through you and your siblings continuing to “make a difference”. May he rest in heaven .
Emma Joahanne Thomas-Smith
As Charles Kuralt once said, ” The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” Mr. Joe and Ms. ” Miss Prairie VIew” Opal were love personified. If he as a father and she as mother could be cloned and replicated millions of times, this world would, indeed, be a better place. Having witnessed their involvement in the work of Prairie View A&M University for decades , I can say without reservation or hesitation that the Smith’s were always there standing in the gap for Prairie View A&M University. They believed it was truly a shining jewel and polished it in every way they could. Mr. Joe Edward Smith and his bride, Mrs. Opal Johnson Smith ,were equally yoked in the pursuit of excellence and in love of humankind. Missed deeply but their mark on this world is indelible. They are now reunited in heaven. To God be the glory.
Angela B Walker
My experience with Mr. Smith in their home was of “QUIET STRENGTH and Dignity”.
Well done! Rest well
My deepest condolences to the entire Smith family.
What a beautiful legacy. So sorry for your loss. Praying for the family.
Nomad Golf Club
Dr. Kevin Smith and the family of Joe Edward Smith,
Your Nomad Golf Club Brothers offer our deepest sympathies and join you in celebrating the incredible life of your dear father. May he Rest in Eternal Peace.
Joe and Opal Smith are a great example of a husband and wife team committed to each other; committed to their family; and committed to serving our community . None better.
May their lives be an example for us and May their legacy live forever.
My condolences and sympathy go out to their children and other love ones.
May God continue to bless you with his grace and mercy.
My sincere and deepest condolences and prayers for the family 🙏🏽❣️🙏🏽❣️🙏🏽❣️. May Joe Smith RIP of Almighty God. Amen
You loved him well and honored him with your life. He lived, loved and prospered for so many years. Time to rest. I know you and your siblings will all miss him terribly as you have already been missing your mom.
God is with you forever and always. Hold onto God and get to know God
I meet Mr. Joe and I feel privileged that I was in the company of such a very distinguished man. God bless his soul and his family. My prayers are with Gail Blair and the family.
It is sad to loose those we love. May you carry the fond memories you have of your father and grandfather with you always.
Rest In Peace Papa Joe 🙏🏽
Odysseus and Tammy Lanier
Odysseus and Tammy Lanier’ express our deepest condolences yet celebrate a long and fulfilling life lived.
Rest in Heaven. Well done good and faithful servant.🙏🏽
Dennis & Jackie Sandles Wooten & Family
We are deeply sorry for your loss. Praying for your healing, comfort, strength and peace during this painful time.
My condolences to the Smith family. Accept my deepest sympathy.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Joe only a few times and witnessed strong respect and true love that his children showered over him daily. His dedication to excellence was embraced by all of his children. Cedrick, he welcomed you grabbing his face and massaging his jaws. He loved your playfulness.
Sending my prayers and condolences to the family my God continue to bless you.
May you find strength in your faith in the Lord.
My condolences to the Smith family. Accept my deepest sympathy.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Sending my condolences and prayers for your family’s continued strength and blessings.. Your parents have been pillars of their communities and I hope that you all will continue in their footsteps! May they rest together in peace.
Carmen P Smith
My sincerest condolences to the Smith family. Growing up with Ced afforded me the opportunity to visit with Mr.and Mrs. Smith often. I don’t know if Mr. Smith really knew my name because he always simply called me ” Daughter”. I know he was an extraordinary man because he helped produce 4 extraordinary offspring . I know he was a proud Dad and will be extremely missed….rest well, Mr. Smith…job well done!!!
On behalf of the entire Watkin/Muller family, I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the Smith family. We’re so very sorry for the loss of Mr. Joe Smith. We send you prayers and love.
Ferias & Nobie Ferguson
Worked along with Joe on numerous Dallas PVAMU projects. He was always a leader and seriously enjoyed working to benefit PVAMU. Our condolence to the family and we will also miss his friendship and brilliance.
Phyllis Pearson Elmore
I did not have the honor of personally knowing Mr. Smith, but I did know his stunningly beautiful wife, Opal, and I had the good fortune of teaching his youngest son, student extraordinaire, Dr. Cedrick Smith in both my honors and in my AP classes, at Carter High School in the late 1980s.
I know this family by reputation, and as one who adores black achievement, I have long been immensely proud of the four accomplished Smith children, who exemplify the infinite possibilities of excellence. As I have watched the trajectory of their respective stellar careers from afar, I have been reminded anew of the definition of black excellence.
I know well Mr. Smith’s insistence on excellence and his tireless and good work, in service of the Carter High School community. As I ponder the commitment to community of this power couple, Joe and the indefatigable Opal Johnson Smith, I am reminded of the sage words, “There were giants in the earth in those days.”
What a reunion these two must have had when Mr. Smith entered the gates eternal. Both home with the Saints.
Phyllis Pearson Elmore
A marvelous success story for a man who grew up at a very difficult time for Black people. Joe and Opal did it with determination and style. Thank God for them.
I remember a lot about Opal, but the two things I recall about Joe is when Gail got married. When the pastor asked “ Who gives this woman?” Joe responded (in a loud voice) “Her mother, her brothers, and I Do!”
The second thing was when I took a coconut cream pie to Opal. Later on. Joe said, “Thank you for the pie.”
Obviously a man of few words, but when he spoke it mattered.
Cedric, Sending healing prayers to you and family. Continue to hold loving memories of your Father in your heart.
Dennis & Angela Pullin
While we did not have the opportunity to meet your Father, he was definitely an awesome man who accomplished much for himself, his family & communities.
Do know that our thoughts and prayers are with you & your family as you continue to celebrate the life of your Dad.
May God continue to strengthen and keep your family. Mr Smith, A life well and long lived. I will always remember him sitting in the stands supporting our school. Be Encouraged.
My deepest condolences to my Beautiful family may God continue to wrap his loving arms around your family during this time .May God Bless you all .Praying for Y’all !! Love Geraldine Smith and family
Lindsay Keith Lacy
I know each of you are in a state of shock. But, to have had both parents for so long is an exceptional thing. More so to have had both parents be so exceptional, is astonishing!!
Mr. Smith will be surely missed. Please find solace your memories of special moments and or words shared. For they last a lifetime.
May God bless you and keep you.
Your parents neighbor and Carter Cowboy
Dalphine Mitchell Parrish
Our thoughts and prayers are with you classmates Kevin, Gayle, and the entire family.
Diana "Reeves" Folsom
I am so sorry for your lost Kevin, I knew Mr.& Mrs. Smith all the way from our William Haley Atwell Jr. high school days and they both were some beautiful people inside and out he will be truly missed by his family and friends RIP Mr.Smith🙏❤️
Mr Smith was a great man he always had a teachable moment for us young men in the neighborhood.Prayers for the family.
Rest in Heaven Mr. Joe Edward Smith. You’ve lived an Amazing life ❤️ 🙌. Kevin is a great son. God Bless 🙌
MAY HIS MEMORIES BE A BLESSING!!!
Mr. Smith was an inspiration to me, and I know many others who matriculated through David W Carter High School. I’ve carried his illustration of the fork in the road with me all of these years, and I’ve also shared it with my children and others. May God bless, comfort and keep each of you!
I am so blessed to be able to call Joe Smith family. We will be eternally grateful for the positive impact he made in our lives. He made sure to always check on my progress through Carter High School and was a huge part of the reason I never missed an honor roll and graduated with high honors.. Joe Smith had a gentle way of holding you accountable and I personally never wanted to disappoint him. Homecomings in Madisonville now have another irreplaceable void as Joe and Opal reunite in paradise. I love you cousins and will always cherish the memories of your amazing parents.
Sending love and light,
Stephanie and all of the Shelton family
Uncle Joe served our communities in some of the most difficult times – in war and in times of sweeping social change. He loved his family and will always be remembered.