01/18/11 — Lawyer, education advocate dies at age 82

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Lawyer, education advocate dies at age 82

By Staff Reports
Published in News on January 18, 2011 1:46 PM

Longtime Goldsboro attorney William Whitfield "Bill" Smith, 82, died Monday at Kitty Askins Hospice Center.

A former chairman of the Wayne County Democratic Party, Smith was a member of the Dees law firm for more than three decades.

A public-spirited, generous man, Smith is remembered by friends as a dutiful lawyer and strong supporter of education.

"He was supremely honest, fair and thorough," said Tommy Jarrett, a former law partner. "With Bill, what you saw was what you got. He was one of the best. He was a good lawyer, a gentleman and a good friend."

Smith, a native of Raleigh and was a graduate of Davidson University and the University of North Carolina School of Law. He served in the United State Army from 1953 until 1955, when he joined the Dees firm.

He served on numerous local boards and commissions, including the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, the Wayne County Library, the Wayne Community College Board of Trustees, United Way, the Wayne Memorial Hospital Board, the Salvation Army Board, the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp., the Goldsboro Rotary Club and the Peace College Foundation.

He was appointed to the state Library Board.

Smith also was a big benefactor of Johnston Community College.

Jarrett said that after hearing of a South Carolina Rotary program that donated dictionaries to all students in that club's district, Smith was the impetus for the Goldsboro club to adopt the same program. Every year, every third-grade student in Wayne County, whether they attend public school, private school or are home-schooled, receive a dictionary from the club.

"Bill was the push behind that," Jarrett said.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday at 2 p.m.