Waynesville, Dr. Gary Wayne Smith, 72, passed away on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at his residence.
Gary was born in Bell, California to the late Irven John "Smitty" and Frances Morrison Smith. He was a member of Baptist faith. Growing up in California, Gary enjoyed sports and music. Attending UCSB, Gary was a member of the Schubertians Men’s Glee Club, played football, and received his B.A. in mathematics. Upon graduating, Gary enlisted in the United States Army, in 1971. During his Army career he served tours in Germany, Japan, Korea, and multiple CONUS tours in Washington, D.C. Within the Signal Corps, his specialty was communications, computers, and information security. During his Army career he obtained his Master of Science in Technology Management from American University and his Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Engineering from George Mason University. His last military assignment was as Professor at the Information Resources Management College, National Defense University. Gary retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1992. After retirement, he served as a computer security engineer with SAIC working on the Joint Strike Fighter platform. In 2008, Gary moved to Waynesville where he and Sarah Jane were very active with Sarges Animal Rescue, serving as President of the Board of Directors for several years. They fostered rescue dogs and produced the Sarge’s Furry Friends Benefit Bash for several years. Gary was a lifetime member of the Barbershop Harmony Society (SPEBSQSA), joining the society in 1967. He was a member of the Alexandria VA Chapter and served as President of the chapter in 1983 and 1988. He sang with The Harmonizers and performed with them winning two gold medals in 1986 and 1989. He served other roles within the Chapter such as Music Committee Chair and Music Subcommittee Chair for Stage Presence, Arrangement/Repertoire and Show Production. Gary was also the Chapter Historian and helped edit and produce "Breathless Moments, The Alexandria Harmonizers – 1948-98." After moving to NC, he was the Historian for the Carolinas District of the BHS. Gary became a "fanatic" of Broadway musicals and traveled to NYC yearly to see as many musicals on Broadway as he could in a week. He also enjoyed woodworking, traveling, skiing, and collecting art. Gary was the love of Sarah Jane’s life and she could not have had a better soul mate to share her life with.
Gary is survived by his loving wife, of 42 years, Sarah Jane League, of Waynesville; his beloved dogs Bria and Mindy, and kitty cats Jedi and Misti. A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, 2020 in the Waynesville Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with Reverend Bruce League officiating. Burial will follow at Green Hill Cemetery with military honors to be rendered by the U.S. National Guard. With the coronavirus, social distancing and wearing of masks will be observed.
The celebration of life will be live streamed and can be viewed on his obituary page at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to SARGE’S Animal Rescue Foundation, P.O. Box 854, Waynesville, NC 28786, or Friends of Haywood County Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 142, Waynesville, NC 28786.
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