Jeffrey Kent Smith, 56, of Lexington, NC, passed away at Thomasville Medical Center Tuesday, October 5, 2021, due to complications from Covid-19.
Jeff was born February 5, 1965, in Moses Lake, WA to Donna Davis (Smith) Price and Hines Gilmore Smith. He was preceded in death by his father.
He grew up in Archdale, NC, and attended Trinity High School before the family moved to the Midwest, where he graduated from Garden City High School in Garden City, KS. He immediately enlisted in the US Air Force, serving 8 years, including a deployment in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He was a decorated Airman and Crew Chief for the KC-135, stationed first at Pease AFB in New Hampshire, and finally at Offutt AFB in Nebraska. After his Honorable Discharge in 1991, Jeff continued his career as an A&P Mechanic for 6 more years, specializing in Leer Jets. The rest of his career was spent as a Master Certified Diesel Technician, working for several trucking companies in Nebraska and North Carolina, and helping family and friends with their car and truck problems wherever he could. He loved to share his knowledge and was nicknamed "Professor" because he was known to intricately explain mechanical jobs to anyone who would listen, down to the smallest detail.
At Garden City High School he was a Bull Rider on the Rodeo team, where he was proud to have competed in the National High School Finals Rodeo. He was a Second Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. He enjoyed Team Roping for several years until a ladder accident left him unable to ride horses. He loved music and enjoyed learning to play guitar. He was incredibly soft-hearted when it came to animals and children, taking every opportunity he could to spoil both. Jeff loved to laugh and was famous for playing pranks on unsuspecting victims at any given time or place. He traveled the world with the Air Force and had more than a few wild stories of his trips, but he always claimed North Carolina as Home.
Jeff is survived by his mother, Donna, and sister, Tammy Sikora (Kip) of Omaha, Nebraska; wife, Lori Kruzich Smith, son, Chase Smith (24) and son, Trent Smith (22) of the home; son, Justin Smith Gallegos (35) (Brandi) of College Station, TX; daughter, Amanda Rothrock (29) of Vincennes, IN; Close cousins, Roy Jennings of Myrtle Beach, SC, Tonya Proctor of Thomasville, NC, Kelly Carter of Wallburg, NC, as well as countless family and friends across the US.
A Celebration of Life with Military Honors will be held at Union Cross Park, 1935 Union Cross Rd, Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, October 17, 2021, beginning at 4:00 pm.