01/18/11 — A life of service: William Whitfield 'Bill' Smith left his mark on his community

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A life of service: William Whitfield 'Bill' Smith left his mark on his community

When the term used to describe a man is "public-spirited" and "generous," you can bet that he has lived a life worth noticing.

And according to those who knew Bill Smith best, his life was filled with just that sort of commitment, dedication and thoughts about how he could make Wayne County a better place for generations to come.

His resume lists numerous boards, as well as a demonstrated commitment to education in all forms. A busy lawyer himself, Bill Smith certainly had to make time to be so involved in his community.

And he did -- for decades.

But perhaps what Bill Smith will be most-remembered for in Wayne County is a program that has put dictionaries in the hands of this county's third-graders for years.

The dictionary project, which is run each year by the Goldsboro Rotary Club, was Smith's idea -- after he saw a similar program in another state.

And now, every time a student's eyes light up when he or she receives a dictionary of his or her very own, or when a high school freshman opens that same dictionary to prepare an English paper, he or she is a legacy of the good work of Bill Smith.

Bill Smith was not a publicity hound. In fact, many people probably do not know the extent of his involvement in his community and his determination to make it the best it could possibly be.

But his legacy is that selfless commitment to others -- one that should be emulated by those with whom he has entrusted the future of his community.

Bill Smith will be missed not just because of his generosity or his service. He will be remembered because of the example he set for how to live a life.

Published in Editorials on January 18, 2011 11:34 AM