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William Smith

William Speakman "Bill" Smith

Friday, February 16th, 1940 - Sunday, July 26th, 2020
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Obituary

William Speakman Smith took his first breath around 6AM at the segregated Brewster Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday, February 16, 1940. He was the elder son of a business man and teacher, William J. and Pauline W. Smith. He grew up on the Eastside of Jacksonville, walking to Oakland Elementary and finishing Matthew Gilbert Junior-Senior High in 1957.

Sitting first chair playing flute in the band, becoming a Life Scout and member of the elite scouting, “Order of the Arrow”, and working in all areas of his father’s drug stores and Adolph’s Beauty Products distributorship, gave him a full and satisfying childhood. A seminal moment was the band director’s request that he help teach an elegant, classy teenager, Iva Elizabeth Baker, how to play flute. She would sit second chair playing flute next to William and share his seat in marriage (beginning Dec. 27, 1963) for the next 51 years.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in 1962. Being pursued by the Army draft board, he volunteered to join the United States Air Force immediately after college and served for almost four years at bases in Texas (Lakeland, Perrin) and Johnston Island (a secret base that his sense of duty would never fully reveal!) in the Pacific. Iva and William lived in Dallas and El Paso while in the service. For a short while after his time in the service, William worked for Dun and Bradstreet as a credit reporter and the Red Cross as an Assistant Field Director. During this time their son, William John Smith, was born while in Dallas in 1968.

Because of the illness of his parents, William and Iva returned to Jacksonville in 1969 to live and to be available to help his parents. William became one of the first African-Americans to have a sales job in the deep South with a major pharmaceutical company, Winthrop Labs. His job required him to visit physicians and hospitals in a large geographic area around Jacksonville including many small towns in rural southern Georgia. His demeanor and winning, pleasant personality, customer service, and product knowledge made him among the top salesman in his company, often in the President’s Club.

With a winning personality that did not always beat inequalities with fists during the era of civil rights, William would continue to “Stay the course!” While experiencing racism, sometimes minor or indirect, William was able to spend the rest of his career in pharmaceutical sales while continuing to smile and display kindness that overcame the inequities that faced him often. His work was important and he was a trailblazer in his field, but Iva, family, and church were always his biggest and most important jobs in life. His love and dedication to the care of his seriously ill parents and Iva, who suffered major illness for much of their married life, was a true reflection of Christ living in him and through him every day.

He was a long time active and faithful member of the St. Philips Episcopal Church where he served in many capacities over the years including leading the Eucharistic Ministry. His unwavering love and commitment to God and His church was rewarded with an extraordinary legacy of goodness, high purpose, and great faith that is reflected in his honor by his son and his family.

William Speakman Smith is survived by his loving and devoted son and daughter-in-law, William John and Christine Smith; beloved grandsons, William Speakman Smith II and Julian Brooks Smith; his brother, Paul Wellington Smith and his wife, Dr. Gaurdia Banister; cherished aunt, Faye Waters (Donald deceased); nieces, Robyn Nichole Smith and Alice Utley Smith; nephew, Darren Paul Smith; brother-in-law and his wife, Wilson and Geraldine Baker; and a host of cousins and dear friends. He was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Iva Baker Smith, and his parents, William and Pauline Smith, numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

William took his last breath on Sunday, July 26, 2020. The angels rejoiced and sang with excitement and welcomed him home.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to The St. Philip's Eucharistic Ministry Fund: https://onrealm.org/stphilipsjax/give/specemfund
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Memorial Program

We have provided a digital copy (PDF) of the Memorial Program that we supply at the time of the service. To Download this file please click the filename below. William Speakman "Bill" Smith - Memorial Program

Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, August 6th, 2020 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    When
    Thursday, August 6th, 2020 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Location
    Funerals by T.S. Warden
    Address
    4315 North Main Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32206
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to The St. Philip's Eucharistic Ministry Fund: https://onrealm.org/stphilipsjax/give/specemfund
  • Service

    Friday, August 7th, 2020 | 10:30am
    When
    Friday, August 7th, 2020 10:30am
    Location
    Jacksonville National Cemetery
    Address
    4083 Lannie Road
    JACKSONVILLE, FL 32218
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Friday, August 7th, 2020 | 10:30am
    When
    Friday, August 7th, 2020 10:30am
    Location
    Jacksonville National Cemetery
    Address
    4083 Lannie Road
    JACKSONVILLE, FL 32218
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Condolences

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Ms Xavier Holt (Smith) , Darren, and Robyn and Ciara, Von, Denise, Kelly, & Marsha sent flowers to the family of William Speakman "Bill" Smith.
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MR

Ms Xavier Holt (Smith) , Darren, and Robyn

Posted at 04:25pm
My sincere sympathy, for the loss of your dear father, William S. Smith AKA ''Bunny".,( a loving and caring father.)
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Ms Xavier Holt (Smith) , Darren, and Robyn purchased flowers for the family of William Smith. Send Flowers

CM

Ciara, Von, Denise, Kelly, & Marsha

Posted at 08:48pm
Thinking of you today & in the days to come. Sending love & prayers for your family. May you find peace in the celebration of a beautiful life lived
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Ciara, Von, Denise, Kelly, & Marsha purchased flowers for the family of William Smith. Send Flowers

X

Xavier

Posted at 07:10pm
To the Family of William S. Smith--I can remember how William and Iva exchanged recorded cassette tapes by mail during the time he was stationed in the Pacific. Cassette tapes were the latest thing! and I thought it was sooo clever of them to exchange tapes.
Much better to hear a loved ones voice than to read a letter! (Iva shared this with me when we visited them in Dallas TX in 1968.).... Very sweet!
KP

K. Joy Peters

Posted at 11:41am
Special prayers are sent to the family as they share fond memories and grieve the loss of him from this earthly life.
K. Joy Peters
BB

Bettye Bradwell

Posted at 09:18am
Condolences to the family. May God bless and keep you safe and strong in the loss of your love one.
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