When Emmett Smith III passed away on Christmas Eve, he left a big hole among both family and colleagues in the Crowley’s Ridge Academy and Crowley’s Ridge College communities.
“His widow is my first cousin,” said Terry Austin, director of development at Crowley’s Ridge Academy. “So I’d known him for a long time.”
Austin hailed Smith as “the salt of the earth.”
“He came into our family when I was just a little tyke,” he said. “And I remember one holiday gathering [he and wife Jeanina] took us kids to go roller skating. That was just like them to take responsibility to try to make life better for people.”
Smith, born Aug. 20, 1955, had a long association with both CRA and CRC, graduating from the former in 1973 and from the latter (at that time a two-year-college) in 1975. He also graduated from Arkansas State University in 1988, having married Jeanina in 1979.
He worked as an electrical engineer and as a self-employed land surveyor. But he had a close association with CRC, according to the college’s recently retired president Ken Hoppe.
“My acquaintance with Emmett Floyd has spanned 53 years,” Hoppe said in an email. “I knew him as a young man growing up witnessing his father (Emmet F. Smith, Jr.) being a Christian leader in our community during the development of two Christian Institutions, Crowley’s Ridge Academy in 1953-54 and Crowley’s Ridge College in 1964.”
Hoppe noted Smith had served many years on CRC’s Board of Trustees.
“He provided thoughtful concern for the students of CRC as he provided quality leadership as a Trustee,” Hoppe said. “Emmett constantly encouraged our faculty and staff and me personally. Emmett Floyd will be greatly missed by those of us fortunate enough to know him.”
Smith was also a member of the Emmaus Community, where he was known for his wisdom, gentleness, and love for Jesus and others. According to the web site http://emmanuelemmaus.com: “[t]he Emmaus movement grew out of the Catholic Cursillo movement, a program to reinvigorate the spiritual lives of leaders of the church. It can be thought of as an anti-burnout program.”
He also preached for the Mountain Home Church of Christ in Paragould for more than 30 years, and was also active in 12-Step recovery programs for the past 11 years.
As Austin attested, Smith enjoyed spending time with his family, especially playing with his grandchildren. He also enjoyed playing pitch, participating in thoughtful conversations, reading, listening to all kinds of music, and cheering for the Arkansas Razorbacks and St. Louis Cardinals.
Jeanina, his wife of 41 years, survives him, as do daughters Emily Chaffin (Michael), Katie Vaught (Greg), and Claire Smith (Chris Simpson); and six grandchildren, Olivia, Brody, Maddox, Cadence, Jude, and Owen.
Also surviving him are his mother-in-law, Betty Yearry; plus numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and friends. An outdoor service will take place at CRC on Saturday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m. Masks and social distancing will be required due to COVID-19.