Johnnie Smith Jr., 83 of Helena-West Helena, passed away at his home Jan. 12, 2013
Johnnie Smith Jr., 83 of Helena-West Helena, passed away at his home Jan. 12, 2013. He was born Nov. 28, 1929, in Tutwiler, Miss. to John Smith Sr. and Willie Bell Thomas Smith. His parents moved to West Helena when he was a small child, where he was baptized at an early age and grew up under the tutelage of his parents and grandparents, Nannie and Stanford Washington. After accepting Christ, he and the family became members of Pettis Memorial CME Church where his youth and teenage years included singing in the choir, becoming an usher, a layman and later a steward, church treasurer, Sunday School teacher, Sunday School superintendent and a trustee. He lovingly continued working in the church and later became Forrest City-Blytheville District lay leader. “June”, as he was sometimes called, graduated from the Eliza Miller High School in 1949. He joined the Air Force in 1956, and served 5 years. He was honorably discharged and decided to continue his education by attending Jackson State College in Jackson, Miss, with an interest in mathematics. He met and married Mary Pearl Bookins, another mathematics major. In 1963, he joined the staff at Doughboy Plastics (now Hoffinger Industries) as a machine operator where he was selected as union steward and worked until his retirement after 32 years. He was preceded in death by his grandparents and parents, a stepmother, Ruth, two half sisters, Johnnie Mae and Dorothy. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife of 54 years, Mary Pearl Smith of Helena-West Helena; a very devoted and supportive daughter, Wanda Smith of Helena-West Helena; a loving son, Rev. Johnnie Smith III “Jay” (Cheryl) of Jackson, Miss.; a half sister, Barby Smith of Shaker Heights, Ohio; a half brother, Steve Smith of Shaker Heights; a special mother, Eula Mable Pettis of Helena-West Helena; and other relatives, many friends; and his beloved Pettis Memorial CME Church family. Visitation will be Friday, Jan. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pettis Memorial C.M.E. Church. The funeral will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Pettis Memorial C.M.E. Church. Rev. Fannie Washington will officiate. Burial will follow in Jackson Memorial Garden. Arrangements are entrusted to Kincaid Funeral Services. Post messages and shared memories can be found at www.kincaidfuneralservices.com.