Lawrence Joseph “Joe” Smith, 80, of Springfield, Ohio, passed away Friday, November 8, 2019. Joe was born in Goshen, New York, January 13, 1939, the son of Lawrence Smith and Ellen “Poie” Smith. Joe grew up in Goshen and Newburgh and attended Newburgh Public Schools. As a young man growing up in Newburgh, Joe loved to work out with his brother Eddie and friends, and loved to watch boxing. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the United States Air Force. While enlisted, Joe rose to the rank of Tech Sergeant before being Honorably discharged in April 1977. Joe served two tours of the Vietnam War and toured the Philippines and Thailand. He boxed for the US Air Force. Joe received three Good Conduct and two Commendation Medals. Through his distinguished service he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service and leadership during the TET Lunar Offensive in Vietnam.
After retiring from the US Air Force in April 1977, he made his home in Springfield, Ohio, where he met his companion, Betty Mack. He and Betty spent many years together enjoying Betty’s children, grandchild, nieces, and nephews. Joe was employed at Olan Mills Photography in Springfield and with the Springfield Public School System. Joe loved to workout daily at the YMCA and was a regular at the local Olive Garden and Bob Evans restaurants. Joe attended the Second Missionary Baptist Church in Springfield.
Joe was the oldest of 8 children and was the family’s tower of strength, support and encouragement. Joe was a loving and thoughtful son, brother, godfather, uncle, and cousin, and leaves to cherish his memory: his companion Betty Mack of Springfield, Ohio; Nikki Garrison, her sons; Delaqwan, and Dasheil Garrison; sisters, Gladys “Hopie” Smith, of Florida, Crystal Hall (Gregory) of New Jersey, and Luwanna Brown of Virginia; brother, Lincoln Smith of Newburgh, NY, and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues throughout New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, and California.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Ellen Smith; brothers, Charles “Eddie” Smith (Joan) and Bruce “Jimmy” Smith; sister, Sharon “Sherry” Klegg, and a host of aunts and uncles.
Joe donated to several national and local organizations including the Wounded Warrior Project and the Springfield Soup Kitchen. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the www.woundedwarriorproject.org or the www.springfieldsoupkitchen.org.
Memorial services are pending in Springfield, Ohio and Goshen, New York, where he will be laid to rest with his parents and brother. Arrangements entrusted to the care of KINLEY Funeral Home.
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