by David Shannon
Monty Smith was born and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. He knew the heartache of his mother’s premature death while he was a child. He later would know the challenge of being a prisoner of war and after this the premature death of a young wife. The winds of adversity blew, but Monty Smith stood strong. After serving in World War II he met a beautiful lady serving coffee named Noreen. They fell in love, married and shared nearly 50 years of marriage! As a civilian he worked for Independent Plumbing Supplies, eventually advancing to Vice-President of the company. In 1987 he retired. Not ready to quit work he helped another plumbing supply house for 5 years. He also enjoyed driving cars for dealerships. As a matter of fact, he drove a car from Decatur, Alabama Wednesday before entering the emergency room on Friday, which would be his last hospital stay.
Much more than career and hobbies, Monty loved being with his family. He loved taking his children and grandchildren fishing! They describe him as the best! He didn’t mind being the one to keep everyone fishing whether it was baiting everyone’s hook or taking fish off the lines. With a fish on his line he would ask one of his grandchildren if he could fish with their pole and then act surprised when they reeled in a nice fish! He spoke of David and Jason as if they could walk on water. He loved those two boys. He taught them how to mow, fish, ride a go-cart and even pick up aluminum cans to pay for the gas for the go-cart. They loved riding into work with him. They remember the stops for breakfast and the rides on the forklifts. They remember the sled rides in the snow and his wonderful sense of humor. Mrs. Noreen was blessed for almost five decades with this sense of humor. During his last hospital visit as a diabetic he had been pricked numerous times throughout each day. He described it like this, “If I had as many needles poking out of me as I have had poked into me, I would look like a porcupine! It wasn’t just his humor which made him a such blessing. As Mrs. Noreen’s health has weakened in recent years he did more and more of the laundry, cooking, and cleaning. They shared in much together during their years of marriage, but the greatest event was on April 19, 1955. Monty and Noreen had been invited to church by some friends who lived next door. As they continued to visit the church they both walked down the isle on a Wednesday night to begin their life with the Lord by being baptized into Him. Monty later described to Mrs. Noreen how he felt after baptism, knowing his sins had been washed away, by saying, “I felt like I could have floated all over that building!”
Monty experienced physical freedom on April 16, 1945 after four months as a Prisoner of War. He experienced spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin on April 19, 1955 as his sins were remitted. He experienced eternal freedom as his soul escaped from this body on March 19, 2004. It is by faith we believe Paul’s words describe Monty’s change of address in 2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” This man had lived in the same house on Windemere Drive for 44 years. He had worked with the same employer from youth until retirement. He had faithfully committed to his family for almost 50 years, ending only through his death. What if every man offered this stability to his community? How different our nation would be!
Monty Smith died on Friday, March 19, 2004 after suffering a heart attack while in the hospital. He was a member of the Mt. Juliet Church for 12 years. Also members here are his wife Noreen and daughter Sherry and her husband Jim and their sons David and Jason. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed. Our prayers are for this good family.