Homer J. Smith, affectionately called “Dude” since childhood by family and friends, died Saturday, February 1, 2020 at his home in Dothan after an extended illness, surrounded by family. He was 93.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at Southside Baptist Church in Dothan with Pastor Stacy Stafford officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. prior to the service in the church sanctuary. Burial with full military honors will follow at Memory Hill Cemetery.
Born in 1926, Homer grew up in Slocomb, Alabama, during the great depression. In order to help support family, he began his working life at age 13 in the shipyards of Panama City driving a dump truck to help build highway 98 in Bay County, Florida. In 1944 during World War II, at the age of 18, Homer entered the army and was shipped to northern France to be a part of the Battle of the Bulge. After suffering heavy losses fighting outside of Phillipsburg, France, Homer and the few remaining members of the 275th Infantry, Company B were captured by the German army. They were then marched into Germany and Homer spent the balance of the war as a POW. Once liberated by the allied forces, he spent several months in army hospitals before returning to Slocomb, Alabama. For his service, Homer was awarded the Purple Heart, The Bronze Star, and the French Legion of Honor.
After the war, Homer met and married the love of his life, Catherine Frances McLeod. Settling in Dothan, he spent a number of years in the trucking business before entering into automobile sales, where he would spend the rest of his career. He was a former sales manager for Dothan Buick, owner of South Oates Auto Sales along with brothers Max and James, and owner of Dothan Jeep/Renault along with son, Joe.
Homer was an active Mason and Shriner where he served as president of the local Shriner’s temple and was instrumental in helping obtain the land and building where it is presently located on Hwy 84W. He was also past president of the Alabama Automobile Dealers Association. Homer held memberships with Toastmasters and Veterans of Foreign Wars and was actively involved in the Gideons. He was a member of Southside Baptist Church for over 65 years where he served as a deacon and usher as well as on numerous committees.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Homer A. and Lena Smith; his brothers, Howard, Johnny Frank and James; his sisters, Betty Griffin and Rose Black; and his son-in-law, Bobby Pitman.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Catherine; his daughter, Nancy Pitman; his sons, Joe (LaNelle) and Jon (DeNiece); his grandchildren, Matt (Caroline) Majors, Sydney (Will) Hewitt and Parrish (Ashlan) Smith; his great grandchildren, Caitlin, Grayson and Payton Majors and Eliza, Jon Warren and Espie Hewitt. Homer also leaves behind his brothers, Charles (Jeanette) and Max (Sandra); sisters Joyce Helen Grimmer and Dottie (Spence) Williams; sister-in-law Lenore Smith; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers will be Homer’s nephews. Honorary pallbearers will be the Foy Strickland Sunday School class. Flowers will be accepted and any gifts may be made to the Southside Baptist Church Building Fund or Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tamp, FL 33607.
The family would like to express great appreciation to all of Homer’s caregivers and to Encompass Hospice for their loving care.
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