Gary A. “Smitty” Smith, 86, of Strasburg passed away unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
He was born on March 29, 1936 in Lewisville, Ohio and was a son of the late Charles and Sophia Kestner Smith. In addition to his parents, Gary was also preceded in death by his daughter, Colleen Smith Espenschied; brothers, Ferdinand, Wayne and Garland Smith; and his sister, Carolyn Smith.
Gary served his country with the United States Army from 1959 until 1961. Following his discharge, he found employment with Reeves Steel and retired 33 years later as a Foreman. Later in his retirement, he worked at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home’s as a Greeter for over 15 years, a job that he truly loved. Gary had a passion for sports, especially Strasburg High School Basketball. He started his career in 1972 being the official Scorekeeper for the boys basketball team, a job that would span the next 50 years, touching the lives of generations of young players. Smitty could always be found at the gym during practice, on the bus, or after a tough game giving his encouragement, advice or a joke. Gary’s career saw the Tigers win 637 games and make several trips to the regionals, and a state final four appearance. He was the recipient of the District 5 Basketball Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 2006, was the Official Scorekeeper of the 1987 Ohio High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament, was a 30 year volunteer for the Strasburg Football Program, and was inducted into the District 5 Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Strasburg Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020. Gary’s dedication to Strasburg Basketball was also recognized in 2017 with the establishment of the Gary A. Smith Contributor Award, which is presented to the individual who has made significant contributions to the Strasburg Boys Basketball Program. In his younger years, he was a basketball referee, baseball umpire and coached his son’s baseball teams. Gary was also an active member of the Strasburg United Methodist Church where he was a Trustee, served as a Lay Leader for many years, and was a Delegate to the Annual Conference. Gary’s commitment to the Strasburg Community will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Edna Yackey Smith whom he married on May 5, 1957; son, Kevin (wife, JJ) Smith of Cambridge; grandchildren, Ian and Adam Smith.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, February 6th starting at 10:30 am in the Strasburg United Methodist Church with Rev. Matthew Wald officiating. For those unable to attend the funeral, a live stream can be found on the church’s Facebook page, Strasburg UMC Ohio. Interment will be in the Grandview Union Cemetery at Strasburg. The family will be greeting friends in the Strasburg High School gymnasium on Sunday from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. The Toland-Herzig Funeral Home and Crematory at Strasburg is handling arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Strasburg United Methodist Church at 206 2nd St. NW, Strasburg, Ohio 44680, or to the Strasburg Booster Club at 140 N Bodmer Ave., Strasburg.