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Weekly 150

Dr. T. Howard Smith

Patriarch of Three Generations of Optometrists

Posted 8/6/19

McKenzie has always been blessed with an array of quality doctors ranging from general physicians down the line to dentists and optometrists. Since the early 1950s the Smith family has provided eye …

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Weekly 150

Dr. T. Howard Smith

Patriarch of Three Generations of Optometrists

Posted

McKenzie has always been blessed with an array of quality doctors ranging from general physicians down the line to dentists and optometrists. Since the early 1950s the Smith family has provided eye care to the area with three generations of optometrists: Drs. T. Howard Smith, Tom Smith and Mark Smith.

Thomas Howard Smith was born October 14, 1924, near Greenfield, Tenn. to Ivery and Rosa Smith. Ivery and his brother, Carl, moved the families to McKenzie in December 1924 where they opened Smith Brothers Barber Shop. Ivery continued to barber except for the four years when he served as the McKenzie chief of police.

Howard’s early education was in the McKenzie school system where he graduation in 1942. During that time period he was the editor of the high school yearbook and was presented an award for outstanding sportsmanship in football.

In the fall of 1942, he entered Bethel College and was a member of the Omega Phi Fraternity. In April 1943 he enlisted into the military, taking his basic training at Miami Beach, Fla. After attending several aeronautics schools in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Ohio, he was assigned to the 5th A.R.U.F. and served 14 months in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

In February 1946, he was discharged and joined his family in Jackson, Tenn. where his mother and sister had moved following his father’s death. A few months later in September, he married Marian Newberry, and they would have two sons, Tommy and Bill. Both sons became doctors.

In the spring of 1946, Howard entered Union University, later transferring to Lambuth College (now the University of Memphis-Lambuth), where Marian was assistant librarian. Graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree in 1948; he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Fraternity and Chief Justice of the Lambuth College Judicial Committee.

Upon graduating, he decided to become an optometrist and took additional course in pre-optometric work at Lambuth. He then entered Southern College of Optometry at Memphis, where he was enrolled as an upperclassman. In 1952, he was a member of the first class to graduate under a five-year course of study.

After passing the State Board of Examiners, he began his practice in McKenzie in February 1953.

Dr. Howard took an active interest in his church along with civic and community affairs. He was president of the McKenzie Lions Club, president of the high school Booster’s Club, past-secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the McKenzie Special School District Board of Education and was chairman of the Youth Activities Committee. He was the finance officer for the American Legion, was was the assistant District Commander for the Boy Scouts for Carroll, Henry, Benton and Weakley Counties.

Dr. Howard’s oldest son Thomas was born into optometry as his father was a student at Southern College of Optometry at the time of his birth. Tom attended McKenzie schools, graduating from McKenzie High School and attended University of Tennessee at Martin majoring in biology and secondary education.

He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Epsilon Sigma chapter. Dr. Tom received his professional education in Memphis at Southern College of Optometry. He was president of his fraternity and a student council member. Later he joined the Tennessee National Guard were he served as a tank commander.

Dr. Tom and his wife, Rhonda have 2 children, Mark and Julie. Mark joined Dr. Tom at Smith and Smith Optometry in 2010.

Dr. Mark was born and raised in McKenzie, Tennessee. He attended McKenzie schools and graduated from McKenzie High School in 2001. His undergraduate work was at the University of Tennessee at Martin, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Dr. Mark attended the Southern College of Optometry and completed three internships during his fourth year of optometry school, including the Memphis Veterans Affairs, The Eclectic Eye in Midtown Memphis and at the Southern College of Optometry. He received his Doctorate in Optometry in April 2010 and received Clinician of the Year and Excellence in Contact Lenses Awards during his time at the Southern College of Optometry.

Dr. Mark is married to Amy Jackson Smith, and they have a daughter, Hadley.

The three generations of Doctor Smiths had a great sports enthusiast. Dr. Howard favorite pastime was hunting and fishing. He also enjoyed baseball, basketball and especially football; he was one of the Rebel’s strongest supports. In July 2004, Dr. Howard died; at that time Dr. Tom was running the day-to-day operations of the clinic. Dr. Howard’s wife, Marian is still living.

For 66 years, the Smiths have provided McKenzie and their patients the best of care. The Smith family worked to help in the betterment of McKenzie; volunteering countless hours in numerous organizations to improve their community.

Jason R. Martin

B.S. • M.A.Ed • MLS

Councilman, Ward II

Executive Chairman, McKenzie 150th Celebration

E: jmartin@mckenziebanner.com  P: 731.352.3323

Jason Martin is a life-long resident of McKenzie. He graduated from McKenzie High School in 2000; earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Bethel College in 2004; a Masters in Education from Bethel University in 2009 and a Masters in History and Humanities from Fort Hays State University in 2011.

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Joe Wiilliams

Another well-researched and interesting article from Jason!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019