Travis Jackson Smith, 93, of Monticello died on September 18, 2015.
He was born on April 20, 1922 at Banks and was the son of the late Chester Dane and Cozy May (Brown) Smith. Known by many as “Smitty”, Travis Jackson Smith was was named after the National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop from Waldo, Travis Jackson, who played for the New York Giants.
He was the eldest son of seven siblings, Noma Marie Nixon, Rex Smith, Ted Smith, Coy Smith, Cozy Mae Kidwell and Mary McCaskill.
Mr. Smith was Protestant and requested no “sad songs” and no “long-winded” preachers. His written words were: “Be happy I was here, not sorry I am gone. I lived a full life and enjoyed every minute of it. I loved to dance and was called a ‘Jitter Bug’. I liked 1950 and 1960 western music, Johnny Cash, Hank Thompson, The Marine Hymn, and the Colonel Bogey March.”
He attended Banks High School, was in the CCC Camp 1940-41, and still carried his blaster certificate in his wallet. He was a WWII veteran, serving in the Marines and later in the Navy on the USS Hornet doing several world tours. Encouraged by family, he wrote many memoirs about his life experiences, which read like a novel or movie script due to their attention to details. He said most people only knew about the battles from television or books, but not the interactions that happened between those short newsworthy stints.
For more than 20 years, Mr. Smith was the electrician at UAM (A&M) College in Monticello, repairing everything. He never missed a home football game. Having to open and lock up the field, he had the best parking spot on site. His white service truck, always parked inside the gate, was a fixture at the games.
During this time, he met and married Helen Rebecca Cook (Camden-Harmony Grove). They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 13th, 2015. They raised four “Smith” kids, Susan Rebecca, Tracasa Michelle (Travis named her for the Asa Smith in each generation), James Jackson, and Deanna Marie.
After retiring from UAM, he became a commercial net fisherman, enjoying what he loved best. His favorite pastime was catching Crappie with a pole and jig. Many pounds of fish where cut up and sold either behind his home at his “fish shed” or at Carson’s Store. He will always be remembered for frying a mess of fish with his fry daddy almost every day.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Cozy May; siblings, Rex Smith and Noma Marie Nixon; his only son, James Jackson Smith; and nephew, Norman Nixon.
Survivors are his wife of 50 years, Helen Smith; three daughters and their families, Susan and Mark Johnson of Emerson, Tracasa and Donavon Cooper of Monticello, and Deanna and Jeff Isacson of Colorado Springs, Colorado; four grandchildren, Steven Cooper (21), Haley Johnson (13), Jackson Johnson (7), Asa Isacson (4); four siblings and their families, Ted and Hazel Smith of Tinsman, Coy and Jenny Smith of Monticello, Cozy Mae Kidwell of Sulpher Springs, Texas, Mary and Buddy McCaskill of Warren; and many nephews and nieces and great grand nephews and nieces.
Graveside services will be held on September 24 at 10 a.m. at the Smith Family Cemetery in Banks.
Visitation is September 23 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home.