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Fred was born to Florine and Benjamin Smith of Richmond, Virginia on December 2, 1929. He was the oldest of nine children. In the early years of his life, he was raised by his grandmother in Midlothian, Virginia. He attended elementary school and joined First Baptist Church there. During his later school years, he resided with his mother and father and attended Hickory Hill High School. He participated in band and choir and excelled in science and history. After graduating from high school, he moved to Washington, DC to find work. He was later called into the Army and upon his discharge he furthered his education by studying Drafting under the G.I. Bill. He attended Letcher’s Art Center and graduated in 1957. He found employment with the Navy Hydrographic Office in Washington, DC. He was hired as a Topographic and Aeronautical Draftsman. He worked in this position until he was promoted to Cartographer. He loved his employment and was one of a few African Americans to work there during the early years. He retired in 1984.
Fred also had various other enterprises during his years of Federal employment. He was owner and manager of several bands which included The Continentals, The Chosen Few and the D.C. Players. He took great pride and interest in working with these young people who were extremely talented. Fred’s bands played in various NCO and Officers Clubs, at school functions, and other engagements such as wedding receptions, fund raisers, etc. Many of the young musicians who started with him are still playing today. Other endeavors he had were a restaurant and bar, an apartment complex, and a few small businesses to help give young men employment.
Fred moved to Bryans Road in Maryland after leaving Washington, DC. He was married to the late Pauline Holliday and to this union one son was born, Andre D. Smith. He moved to Virginia in 1986 after his retirement and resided in Glebe Harbor. He liked the water and boating, and later opened a bait and tackle shop. He also spent time helping at a local grocery store.
Fred joined Galilee Baptist Church in 1988. He served on the usher board and was later ordained as a Deacon. He became head of the Deacon Board and served for a few years. He remained a member of the Board and sang on the men’s chorus and the combined choir, joined the men’s club, and participated fully in the development of the expansion of the church.
Fred married his current wife, Odessa W. Smith in 1998.
With their love for music, they developed a performing group called Jazz Unlimited to keep good music alive. Fred, with his smooth voice, sang tunes by Frank Sinatra, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and others. Odessa studied this type of music as a piano major. They did performances at Stratford Hall, Windmill Point, Fredericksburg, the Marriott Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, and other local restaurants.
Fred’s other interests included hunting, fishing, birdwatching, listening to music, architectural drawing, and carpentry. He truly lived a fulfilled life. He often said that God had given him so many good days and blessings.
Fred is predeceased by his mother Florine Smith, father Benjamin Smith, sister Geraldine Taylor, brother Oliver Smith, brother Robert Smith, stepdaughter Paula Holliday, and brother-in-law Stanley Glover.
He leaves to mourn his passing a loving and devoted wife Odessa W. Smith; son Andre D. Smith; five sisters: Florine Bennett, Millie Williams (Jimmie), Rosa Glover, Arlene Miller (Lawrence), and Bonita Robinson (Ronald); three step-children: Tracy Smith (Cordelia), Terrence Smith (Alisa), and Stephanie Cole (Timothy); one granddaughter; six step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; eleven step-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews he cherished; and three special ladies who he was raised with while at his grandmother’s home: Estelle Miller, Ethel Miller and Mary Miller.
Funeral services for Deacon Fred. B. Smith will be held on Saturday March 25 at 12 Noon in the sanctuary of the Galilee Baptist Church, 20461 Kings Highway, Montross, Virginia.
Interment will follow in the Galilee Baptist Church Cemetery.
Deacon Smith may be viewed from 10AM until service time on Saturday, March 25 at Galilee Baptist Church.