Communication Builds Our Community

Life of David "Junebug" Smith Celebrated

Strong Law Enforcement Presence at Send-Off

The life of David McArthur Smith Sr. was celebrated Dec. 21 by a large crowd filled with his law enforcement brothers and sisters and many, many friends. Sheriff Grady Judd told of his close working relationship with Smith, affectionately called "Junebug."

Various classmates, family members and fellow church members remembered the large man with a big heart who left a lasting imprint on the Lake Wales community. Smith died Dec. 9 after a lengthy illness, seven years after his beloved wife Alice "Faye", a longtime area teacher and school principal.

Smith was born April 14, 1942 in Lake Wales to Georgia (Kicklighter) and David Smith. He graduated from Rochelle High School in the class of 1961, and received an associate of arts degree from Gibbs Junior College , now St. Petersburg College. One year after graduation he entered the police academy.

Smith began his public safety career in 1965 as a patrolman with the Lake Wales Police Department. In 1968 he made history by becoming the Polk County Sheriff's Office's first African American uniformed patrol deputy. He retired in 2002 after a 33-year law enforcement career. After retirement he continued donning his green uniform to do funeral escorts. He served on the board and as a vice president of the Florida Association of Deputy Sheriff's. He retired as a lieutenant.

From 2010 to 2016 Smith served as president of the Lake Wales NAACP branch, which placed him at the heart of many local issues and political campaigns, where he personally gave his time and energy. 2005 he received the Burney Brinkley Award for outstanding service in the field of law enforcement and was named Citizen of the Year in 201 by the Upsilon Xi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for outstanding contributions to his community and the welfare of mankind.

Smith worked as an ambulance driver and attendant for the former Hewing Funeral Home as well as assistant leader of Troop 94 of the Boy Scouts of America under the late Ambrose Randolph.

At an early age Smith was baptized at Allen Temple A.M.E. Church, where he remained throughout adulthood. He served in many capacities, including past Pro-Tem, associate member of the Women's Missionary Society, Lees Chorus, the Male Chorus, and the past district coordinator for the Sons of Allen, Lakeland Lively District. Former Allen Temple pastor the Rev. James Cleare, who now ministers in Jacksonville, offered the eulogy.

The Rev. Ella Edwards of Allen Temple officiated. Rev. Burney Hayes, a former Lake Wales police officer, read Old Testament scripture, and the Rev. Doris Simmons read from the New Testament. Bishop Joe Halman, also a former law enforcement co-worker of Smith's, read the Gospel. The Rev. Shawn Jackson opened with the invocation. Music was provided by the Lake Wales Community Choir. Many resolutions and acknowledgements were received.

In addition to Sheriff Judd, moments of reflection were presented by former deputy Narvell Peterson, Eugene Williams, Ethyl Mussington, Lawrence Epps and Mary Denmark.

Smith is survived by his children, Wilbert Edwards of Houston, TX, David M. Smith Jr. (Wanda) of Orlando, Alicia Gaskins of Lake Wales, Robert Smith of Lakeland, John Gaines III (Carolyn) of Babson Park; sisters Mary Denmark of Camden, NJ and Margaret Daniel of Orlando; brother Ronald W. Smith Sr. of Lake Wales; brother-in-law Lonnie Strowbridge; sisters-in-law Lilly Lee and Sarah Lawrence; special companion Sharon Wilson; grandchildren Carl Jr., Avis, Jahron, Tamia, Michael Jr., Preston, Trinity, John IV, Deldrick Christopher, Joshua, Sabriele, Amber and Wanae; great-grandchildren Zaylee, Jayden and Lianise; special cousin Thelma Smith; special frends Velma Henry, Ethyl Mussington, Doris Simmons, Lawrence Epps Jr., Benjamin Link, Joe Haman and Narvell Peterson; nephews Ronald Jr. (Sandra), Charles and Darrell; nieces Joni (Daryl), Wanda (Delvickio) and Raeshawna; and a host of cousins and friends.

The Polk County Sheriff's Honor Guard served as pallbearers. The service was held at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Lake Wales to hold the overflow crowd. Interment was at Willow Lawn Cemetery in Lake Wales. Epps Memorial Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Reader Comments(0)