On July 15, 1934, a hot and muggy southern day in Atlanta, Georgia, Fred and Ruby Smith of College Park became parents to a strapping baby boy, Harold E. Smith. He entered this world in the heart of Atlanta at Grady Memorial Hospital – during a time when most births occurred at home.
College Park was home for Harold until the family moved to Jonesboro, on McDonough Street, where Harold attended Jonesboro High School, class of 1953. He excelled at football as right tackle and won all region in 1949 and 1952. Those hallowed halls of Jonesboro High cultivated a true storybook love story—Harold the football player and Frankie the cheerleader. They soon married, and Harold began his 38 year career with the Ford Assembly Plant in Hapeville, Georgia.
As with most men in the 1950’s, Harold was drafted into the US Army, where he proudly served in Virginia and Germany. He drove the troop transport M35 “Deuce and a Half” and developed his skill as a masterful driver, navigator, and mechanic. His duties led him all over Germany and other European regions – fueling his desire for travel and discovering new places.
In 1959, Harold and Frankie built a home in Rex; in the following years, they built their family by adopting a son in 1961 and a daughter in 1964. Harold gathered that family to embark on many camping and cross-country trips. It was on one of these such trips that he was given the name “Log” – short for Loggerhead, a turtle found in south Florida, and the nickname stuck. He taught his children a love of nature and being outdoors. He served as a Boy Scout Assistant Leader, a deacon at The Rock Baptist Church, and a member of the Free Masons.
During all the camping adventures in the Appalachian Region, Harold developed a fondness for mountain life. In the late 1980s, Harold and Frankie purchased a house on Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee – putting down firm mountain roots. In the late 1990s, he and Frankie permanently moved their residency to Hiawassee and joined McConnell Memorial Baptist Church. Both he and Frankie served weekly, active in their Sundy School class, various Prayer groups, VBS, and the Gideons. Life in the north Georgia mountains suited both very well.
After 64 years of marriage, Harold found himself a widower when Frankie died suddenly in March 2017. Several health ailments and a broken hip plagued Harold in the subsequent years, and he passed peacefully on Friday, July 14th, 2023 – just a mere day shy of his 89th birthday, with his devoted daughter Amy by his side.
Harold lived a full life – one of adventure, travel, and love. He found joy in telling stories, devoting to his family, “fixin” things, and driving his big red Ford truck. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Harold is preceded in death by his wife, Frankie, and son Philip. He is survived by his sister Harriett Cagle (Carter), daughter Amy Simonton (Jay); grandchildren: Stephanie, Phil (Jamee), Kaitlin (Josh), Mary, Hannah, Bethany and great-grandchildren: Madison, Kinsley, and Jace.