A resident of Houston, he was preceded in death by his parents, William Oliver and Maudie Rae Smith of Freeport, and sister Joyce Yoder.
After graduating from Brazosport High School, Bill attended the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in zoology. He later earned his MD at Baylor College of Medicine. Bill completed his medical studies with the U.S. Navy, where he specialized in general surgery.
He served two tours of duty in the Navy on the USS Sanctuary and USS America during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1971.
Bill practiced medicine throughout the state of Texas as a general surgeon, industrial and emergency medicine specialist, and until Oct. 4 as an impairment determination physician for the Workers Compensation Board.
A constant throughout Bill’s life was music. He loved classical music from an early age, usually turning his nose up at any music not written during the baroque, classical or romantic periods. A gifted singer, Bill was blessed with a big, rich baritone voice that filled any church. He was often the obvious choice for a soloist at Easter and Christmas programs. Later in life he shifted his attention from Beethoven to German “beer drinking” songs.
Bill was particularly proud of his German heritage. He loved anything German – the language, dark beer, sausage and sauerkraut, and of course the Volkswagen, which he always pronounced “ folks vahgen.” Having studied the German language in high school and college, Bill relished every opportunity to converse with native German speakers.
Bill was also an avid reader. His favorite topics were history (especially World War II), religion, politics and airplanes.
He rarely passed on an opportunity to discuss those topics with anyone willing to engage. His political beliefs never changed during his lifetime. Always conservative, and sometimes a bit to the right of modern Tea Party activists, the mere utterance of the word “Democrat” made him shudder.
He also enjoyed fishing and bird hunting, something he did quite often with his buddies during his youth in Freeport.
Throughout his life, Bill’s hobbies were his creative outlets. His early creations included a sailboat, the airframe of a homebuilt airplane and several pieces of home furniture designed to withstand a nuclear war. As he got older, he focused on smaller items, including muzzleloader guns and leather clothing which proved to be something of an acquired taste.
A devout Christian and student of the Bible, Bill was a member of St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church. Bill is with Christ our Lord now, singing in his beautiful baritone voice, talking right-wing politics and fishing with his buddies.
He leaves behind his wife, Trinh; sons and their wives, Bill and Shinta Smith, Tim Smith and Jeffri Botkin; daughters and their husbands, Toni and Eric Johnson, Amy and Jim McPeak, Julie Smith and spouse, Sarah and John Dickens; stepsons Dennis Nguyen and Charlie Nguyen; grandchildren Meagan, Brad, Nico, Kyle, Andres, Brandon, Madason, Ananda, Andrew, Connar, Kent, Dawson, Meredith, Madellyn, Heston, Joshua, Keira; brother L. Scott Smith; and sister Shirley Hervey.
Friends are invited to a visitation with family from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at American Heritage Funeral Home (10710 Veterans Memorial Drive Houston 77038), followed by a memorial service at 11:30 a.m.
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