Dr. Henry Leroy Smith Jr.

Obituary
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A retired educator, resident of Baton Rouge and native of Mount Holly, N.C., he died at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at home. He was 80 and a Navy veteran. Visiting at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government St., Baton Rouge on Tuesday, Feb. 7, from noon until service at 2 p.m. Burial Services are pending for First Baptist Church, Alexis, N. C. Survived by his wife of 56 years, LaVonne S. Smith; daughter and son-in-law, Robin E. and Tommy Stephens; son and daughter-in-law, Preston B. and Gina R. Smith; two grandchildren, Thomas C. Smith and Michael W. Smith; and many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his parents, Henry L. and Jannie May Smith. He was the last of five brothers and two sisters. Henry left high school to join the U.S. Navy. He soon realized the benefits of education and returned to finish high school. He finished his undergraduate studies at Gardner Webb Junior College and Lenoir-Rhyne College, using his athletic abilities to obtain scholarships and winning state and national athletic honors in football and basketball. He held positions of leadership in all phases of campus life. Following his undergraduate studies, and several years of teaching and coaching in high school, Henry was awarded academic fellowships to the University of Virginia where he earned his masters and doctorates in education with expertise in education of the handicapped. Throughout a long, successful career, he served as teacher, supervisor of special education in high schools, university programs and positions in special programs in the Federal Bureau of Education. He was the assistant superintendent of special education at the Louisiana State Department of Education from 1976 to 1982. He then served the state as an educational consultant. He was a deacon at First Baptist Church where he taught Sunday school and served in many capacities. He was a recipient of many local, state and national awards and honors and served on many state and national boards, including "W. Kuhn Barnett Award" for service to exceptional persons in Virginia and Educator Award for the Year, Louisiana Phi Delta Kappa, and was inducted into Gardner-Webb University, Athletic Hall of Fame. He presented at numerous meetings and conferences both nationally and internationally. He was an innovator and mentor to many professional personnel who continue to serve in Louisiana and across the United States. In lieu of flowers, you may send donations to First Baptist Church, 500 Convention St., Baton Rouge, LA, 70802 or one of your favorite charities.
Published in TheAdvocate.com from Feb. 5 to Feb. 6, 2012
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