Garland Smith was born January 12, 1916 in Helen, Georgia. He passed away 102 years later on April 2, 2018. He was the youngest of three sons born to R.D. & Birdie Smith. He grew up in Gainesville, Georgia going to work at the Gainesville Belk shortly after graduating high school. In 1939, at the age of 23, he moved to Seneca, South Carolina to open and manage the new Gallant Belk store.
During a trip to the Belk’s buying office in Charlotte, he met and fell in love with Margaret Strickland. They announced their engagement on December 7, 1941. They were married February 1, 1942 and remained happily married for the next seventy-one years until Margaret’s passing in 2013.
Garland enlisted in the Army as a private in 1942 and actively served until the end of World War II rising to the rank of Captain. After the war, he and Margaret returned to Seneca. Though he was offered promotions and transfers, he chose to remain as manager of the Seneca Gallant Belk Store until his retirement in 1981. He was a Deacon and Elder in the Seneca Presbyterian Church, a Rotarian, and at his death, the oldest active member of the Oconee County American Legion Post.
He is survived by his loving children Carol (Tony) Knowles and Michael (Patricia) Smith, his half-sister, Amy Smith, his grandson Brad Smith and his great grandson, Miles.
As a boy, Garland listened to a radio connected to a loud speaker in the town square of Gainesville reporting Lindbergh had successfully crossed the Atlantic in an airplane. Years later he watched as man landed on the moon. During his life he experienced the great depression, a tornado that killed more than one hundred people in Gainesville, two world wars and seventeen US Presidents. He witnessed dramatic changes in the world, however throughout his faith and his love of family remained constant.
Garland wrote down how he wanted to be remembered. “It’s just enough to say that I have been faithful to my God, my family and my country in that order. These three things have been the guiding factors throughout my life.” He also wrote that he had done nothing remarkable in his lifetime but that’s not true, his entire life was remarkable.
There will be a memorial service at the Seneca Presbyterian Church followed by a reception on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 2 PM. Pursuant to Garland’s wishes, no flowers please nor donations in his name.
Condolences may be expressed online by visiting www.sandiferfuneralhome.com
SANDIFER FUNERAL HOME IS ASSISTING THE FAMILY