Hugh Weldon Smith Sr.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Hugh Weldon Smith Sr. died peacefully on June 30, 2006.

Born December 28, 1915 to Nachman Nathaniel Smith and Stella Royal Smith in Irondale, he went to old Shades Cahaba High School. During that time he played baseball in one of the work leagues. Coach Billy Bancroft of Howard College, now Samford University, recruited Hugh to play baseball and football and awarded him an athletic scholarship. After graduation he coached high school sports at Emma Sansom in Gadsden.

Hugh is a veteran of World War II and former Prisoner of War. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corp., Second Air Force, B-24 Heavy Bombardment Crew as an engineer

and 1st Technical Sergeant.

His crew was shot down on a bombing mission over Frankfurt, Germany. He was awarded the medal of the Purple Heart upon his return after spending sixteen months in the German camp, Stalag III.

After returning from the war, Hugh went on to coach football and attended Peabody College earning a Masters Degree in Education. During this time he was hired as a recruiting coach by Vanderbilt University. After returning to Birmingham he coached high school football at Ensley and Woodlawn and taught handball at the YMCA, where he became a state champion. Later he accepted the principalship of North Birmingham Elementary.

After retiring, Hugh became a Mason with Woodlawn 525. Through this organization he volunteered as a Dinar Grotto Clown, raising donations for United Cerebral Palsy and dental benefits for special needs children. He also worked through First Baptist Church visiting the elderly and disabled. Using his skills as a sports trainer, he often did physical therapy for those that were homebound. He had a love for poetry and the arts, particularly Shakespeare, quoting, &8220;All the world&8217;s a stage, All the men and women merely players.&8221;

Hugh was married for 55 years to Ellen Ruth Isbell Smith of Columbiana, Alabama. He is survived by his wife Ellen Ruth and three children, Susan Rebecca, Sally Patricia and Hugh Weldon Smith, Jr. and daughter-in-law, Kay Smith.

He has two grandchildren, Rebecca Ellen Sims and Henry Nathan Smith. We will miss his brilliance and playful spirit.

The service was held at Bolton-Letlow Funeral Home, Columbiana, Ala., Monday, July 3rd, 2006, at 11 a.m. Visitation preceded the service starting at 10 a.m