Elmer L. Smith, 78, died Wednesday, July 7, 2021, after courageously battling multiple health issues including heart failure and leukemia. He was under the excellent care of St. Mary’s Hospice at his home in Reynolds on Lake Oconee, Georgia.
Visitation will be held at The Grand Hotel on August 13, 2021, from 6 to 8 p.m. with a celebration of life to follow at Parkway Baptist Church on August 14, 2021. Details to follow. A private graveside service for immediate family and close friends will be at Greenlawn Memorial Cemetery.
Mr. Smith was born on May 14, 1943, in Natchez. He was preceded in death by his life-long love, Gail Hall Smith, his parents, Elmer L. and Wetona A. Smith, father-in-law, William Hall and mother-in-law Juanita Hall.
The popular Natchez High School football star and class president of the 1961 class graduated and married his life-long love, Gail Hall Smith on January 26, 1962. The two left Natchez shortly after marriage. Elmer received his Associates Degree from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in 1963, where he played safety and quarterback. Elmer was an honors graduate and football letterman at Tulane University where he played safety. He graduated Tulane with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1966. After graduation, he embarked on an accomplished 40-year career with L.M. Berry and BellSouth Company, residing in multiple cities throughout the U.S.
Elmer retired from his position as President of BellSouth’s Advertising and Publishing Group on April 1, 2005. Prior to that position, Elmer served as president and CEO of The Berry Company, the largest Yellow Pages advertising sales agency in the United States. He held numerous positions at Berry including group vice president of the South-Central Area, group vice president of business development, executive vice president and COO culminating in his appointment in 1994 to President and CEO. He served on numerous civic and business boards, including serving as the 2003- 2004 Chairman for the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association, the board of Association Directory Marketing, the board of Accu Sport Corporation and Ultroid Technologies, to name a few. Elmer served as the President of the Moraine Country Club in Dayton, Ohio from 1995 to 2000. He was a member of the Lake Oconee Elks Lodge No. 2849. Elmer was also involved in numerous philanthropic charities and was a generous supporter of Tulane University.
Elmer Smith lived life! He was admired and loved by all, especially by his family and friends. He enjoyed making friends, playing golf, traveling the world on business trips, playing in BellSouth Pro-Am tournaments, hosting clients at conferences and special events like the Kentucky Derby. He especially looked forward to recognizing President’s Club sales achievers.
Elmer was more than just a special husband, father, grandfather, friend, and leader. He was an avid golfer, Tulane football fan and Saints fan. He loved boating on Lake Oconee and his faithful black Labrador, Chase “Chaser Boy” Smith. He loved coaching youth football and little league baseball. He was the freshman football coach at Tulane from 1965-1966. He loved spoiling his grand-kids and enjoyed watching their youth, high school, and collegiate sporting events.
Elmer is the father of Renee Smith Liberto, married to Ricky Liberto, of Mandeville, Louisiana and Elmer L. “Trey” Smith III of Mandeville, Louisiana; he had seven grandchildren, Stephanie Fisher, Charlie Mascagni, Jamie Pearce, Sarah Soregaroli, Greg Smith, Matt Smith, and Calin Smith; two step-grandchildren, Zack Liberto and Abby Liberto; six great-grandchildren, Katelyn Pearce, Leah Pearce, Jase Fisher, Parker Pearce, Samuel Soregaroli and Jack Pearce; one step-grandchild, Shelby Underwood and one step-great grandchild Elijah Underwood; his brother Sammy Smith and his sister Peggy Harrigill; his Labrador, Chase Smith.
Watch out Heaven, “Here comes Rusty.”
A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, July 26, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Silver Moon, 1077 Greensboro Road, Eatonton, GA 31024. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations be made to the Lake Oconee Elks Lodge No. 2849 located at 1116 Lake Oconee Parkway, Suite 2070, Eatonton, GA 31024; or the Reynolds Veterans Association located at 113 North Main Street, Greensboro, GA 30642. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online guest register.