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Mr. Henry Wilder Smith, Jr., PA-C 78, of Swainsboro passed away Tuesday, September 19, 2023, following a brief illness.
Mr. Smith was born on October 16th, 1944, to H. Wilder Smith, M.D., and Leila Williams Smith. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Elaine Snellgrove; a son, Henry Wilder Smith, III; his parents; and sister-in-law, Ginny Smith.
Mr. Smith was born in Walton County and graduated from Swainsboro High School in 1962. He continued his education at Mercer University where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. Mr. Smith continued his education at Georgia State University where he received his Bachelor’s in Hospital Administration in 1968.
After graduating from college, Mr. Smith joined the United States Army and served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 achieving the rank of Captain.
In 1974, Mr. Smith married Betty Elaine Snellgrove of Swainsboro. They were married for 37 years until her death in 2012.
In 1976, Mr. Smith graduated from the Medical College of Georgia as a Physician’s Assistant. He moved to Swainsboro and joined his father, H. Wilder Smith, M.D. in his practice. His brother, Mason Smith, also joined the practice and they worked together serving the medical needs of Emanuel County residents until Mr. Smith’s retirement in 2020.
Mr. Smith was a member of Swainsboro First United Methodist Church for his entire life. He was a member of the Chancel Choir, involved in the United Methodist Men, taught Sunday School, as well as serving on various committees throughout his life. He had a particular heart for missions and was a part of over fifteen overseas missions’ trips to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.
For much of his life, Mr. Smith was an integral part of Scouting in Emanuel County through Cub Scout Pack 75 and Boy Scout Troop 75, serving as both Cub Master and Scout Master at various times. Mr. Smith attended National Scout Jamborees in 1957 and 1985. He participated in multiple backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail as well as longer hikes at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1995 and 2009.
Mr. Smith has been President of the Board of Directors at The Sunshine House Regional Children’s Advocacy Center since 2005 and was an active member of the Swainsboro Exchange Club for 30 years.
Mr. Smith has been a member of the SAR since 2011, joining the Wiregrass Chapter. He is also a dual member of Brier Creek, Four Rivers, and Mill Creek Chapters. Mr. Smith was a charter member of the Wiregrass Chapter, serving as Vice President in 2013 and as President from 2013 to present. He is also a member of the Elijah Clarke Militia, Brier Creek Militia, and the Brier Creek Artillery of the Georgia Society Color Guard. He has participated in numerous commemorations as a member of the Color Guard, firing his flintlock. Smith has been the Georgia Society Finance Committee Chairman since 2015. He assisted in chartering and organizing the Brier Creek and Fall Line Chapters. Mr. Smith is a charter member of the Brier Creek Revolutionary War Battlefield Association. He assisted in stopping the Palmetto Pipeline Company from digging a natural gas pipeline through the middle of the Brier Creek Battlefield and over the graves of more than 150 American patriots who died and were buried on the battlefield.
He and his buddies in the “Skunk Brigade” rarely missed a Friday morning taking up tables at Leanna’s for breakfast. Anyone who knew him, loved him and his friends were his friends for life. He was a father figure to more than just his six kids, and a role model for so many.
He is survived by his son, Colby Smith of Swainsboro; daughters, Katherine (Mac) Barron of Gainesville, Barbara Jean (Drew) Roberts of Grovetown, Leila (Wes) Johnson of Lewisville, NC, Kari-Lin (Regan) Slater of Stillmore; brothers, Dess Smith of Swainsboro, Mason (Donna) Smith of Dublin, George (Donna) Smith of Covington; sister, Lei (Ennis) Bragg of Swainsboro; grandchildren, Tristan (Cheyenne) Barron, Ben Barron, Sam Barron, Jude Barron, Joshua Roberts, Rachel Roberts, River Roberts, Rebekah-Jo Roberts, Whitman Johnson, Wilder Johnson, Allie Slater, Grace Elaine Swygert, Lizzie Bell Swygert, Madison Slater, Leila Kate Slater, Millie-Rae Slater; several nieces, nephews and many friends.
Funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, September 23, 2023, at First Methodist Church in Swainsboro with Rev. David Unkles and Rev. Hale Bishop officiating.
Interment will follow in Swainsboro City Cemetery.
Visitation will be held at the Smith home at 210 North Racetrack St, Swainsboro on Thursday, September 21, 2023, and Friday, September 22, 2023 from 12:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Mr. Smith will lie in state at his home during this time.
Pallbearers are Mr. Smith’s grandsons and nephews.
Honorary Pallbearers are SAR members, members of First Methodist Church Choir of Swainsboro, past employees of Smith Rural Health Clinic, The Exchange Club, Veterans at the Library, and Sunshine house employees and board members.
Condolences may be expressed at www.chapmanfhofswainsboro.com.
Chapman Funeral Home of Swainsboro is in charge of the arrangements for Mr. H. Wilder Smith, Jr, PA-C 78, of Swainsboro.