Ottis Brown Smith, age 96, died peacefully at home on February 22. Born in Union County, North Carolina on January 15, 1922, Brown was the son of the late Horace Cleveland Smith and Aldie Haigler Smith. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by all of his siblings; sisters, Letha Smith and Mable Graves, and brothers, Lamar, Lewis, Guywn, and Jack.
In 1963, Brown established O. Brown Smith Company. He enjoyed his career as a cotton broker, especially his association with Cheraw Yarn Mills. In 1975, he became a magistrate in Richmond County, North Carolina and served for twenty-four years. Both careers afforded him the opportunity to make lifelong friendships that he cherished.
O. Brown, as he was fondly referred, grew up farming. He loved telling stories of working on the farm while sharing time with his family. Throughout his life each planting season brought a smile to his face. His gardens produced a constant supply of vegetables he enjoyed sharing with family and friends. Farmer Brown thought there was nothing better than growing and eating Silver Queen corn. He enjoyed his golfing buddies and the fellows he drank coffee with each morning. Enjoying life meant being around people. He loved socializing, especially when there was a good story involved.
Brown and his bride, Julia, joined Glenwood United Methodist Church in 1947. They enjoyed their entire married life in the church, and in 2018 Brown was noted as the oldest member of the church. Brown and Julia joined the Rockingham Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in 1952. Brown was also a member of the Rockingham Masonic Lodge and a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason.
Papa Smith loved his family. Surviving are his wife of seventy years, Julia Meacham Smith; his son, Thomas Smith (Daphne) of Ellerbe, NC; his daughter, Betty Ann Souther (Ray) of Bennettsville, SC; grandchildren, Julie Souther Strong (Michael) of Cumming, GA, Lee Souther of Edenton, NC, Jeannie Souther Jones (Mike) of McColl, SC; and great grandchildren, Reagan and Caroline Strong of Cumming, GA, and Brayden and Harper Jones of McColl, SC. Survivors also include nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of Community Home Care and Hospice for their care, support, and compassion. The loving spirits of Liz Bowden, Peggy Knight, and Rose Bennett have brought so much joy and comfort to the Smith family.
Graveside services will be held Saturday, February 24, at 2:00 PM at Richmond County Memorial Park. A visitation will follow the service at the cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Community Home Care and Hospice, 1791 East Broad Avenue, Rockingham, NC 28379 or Our Daily Bread Food Ministry, 108 South Randolph Street, Rockingham, NC 28379.