William Eugene (Gene) Smith died Sunday January 17, 2021, at Christus-Mother Frances Hospital in Sulphur Springs due to Covid and pneumonia. Gene was the son of Clyde and Ruby Smith from Paris, Texas. Gene was born May 16, 1937 in Rockford, Texas. He attended and Graduated school from Cunningham. He always made a joke that he was in the top 10 of his graduating class. There was only 7.
About 60 years ago, Gene went to Talco, Texas to practice bulldogging over at the Wrights arena with John David Wright. After practicing, they decided to go in to Talco to get something to eat. Low and behold, Cecelia Hall and William Lee Harris came through town on a motorcycle and Gene followed Cecelia home. After permission from her daddy that she could go on a date with Gene the rest was history. Gene and Cecelia married December 9, 1960. Soon after they had 2 daughters. Kim Hatley of Canton, Texas and Rachel and husband Marty Ward of Bogata. As Gene called them, his Little Shadows would soon be following him around. His precious Grandbabies. Kaleb Hatley from Chicago, Illinois, Kaysie Zarate and husband Marcos of Canton. Dean Ward and Marta Ward of Bogata. He is also a proud Great Popa to Braylon, Eli and Rowen Zarate. Gene is survived by his two daughters.
He is also survived by 2 sisters Marie Smith Yancey of Fort Worth, Pauline Smith Plott of Taylortown and a sister in-law Nita Gordon Smith of Paris. Two brothers in law, Roger and Mary Lou Hall of Talco and James and Betty Hall from Minden, Louisiana. Numerous nieces and nephews. Gene was preceded in death by his parents, wife, older brother Oscar Smith, and two younger brothers Donald Smith and Larry Smith. One sister Cynthia Smith.
From early teens, Gene was always interested in the sport of Rodeo. He began as a bull rider but soon realized he was too big. Therefore, he decided to become a steer wrestler. Gene was a member of the RCA later known as the PRCA. And is still currently a gold card holder. Upon his retirement years from Steer Wrestling. Gene decided to try his hand as a Stock Contractor. He was a member of the TPRA, CRA, IPRA, UPRA and numerous Texas high school rodeo associations. He enjoyed helping the youth of today’s rodeos and believed they were our future. He believed in the youth so much that he served on the Talco-Bogata CISD school board for 25 consecutive years. A couple of his proudest accomplishments was seeing one of his horses he bred and raised in Talco win the Saddle Bronc Horse of the World. He received that title both in El Paso, Texas and North Carolina. Gene’s stock has won many awards from Horse or Bull of the Year but you could always bet he was going to have the Best Team of Steer wrestling and hazing horses going down the road. He took great pride in that. In 1970, Gene and Cecelia moved back to Talco. With the push of his father in law Gene and Cecelia bought Talco Propane Gas Company from Jerry and Joan Clemmons. Along with many business adventures, he retired from Talco Propane in 2015.
Gene and Cecelia had a wonderful 50 years of marriage with their two girls making every step they did. Gene always said a family that works together plays together and stays together.
Bright-Holland Funeral Home conducted services Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at Calvary Baptist Church in Talco. Burial followed in Talco Cemetery. Casket bearers were: Ben Preas, Pete Brown, Ross McDaniel, Scott Dennis, Thurman Russell, Donnie Smith, and Randy Hollis.
The family requests that memorials be made to the Rivercrest Education Foundation, Rivercrest High School, C/O Ann Smith, 4126 Hwy. 271 S., Bogata, TX 75417 or the Talco Cemetery Association, P. O. Box 473, Talco, TX 75487.
To leave a message or tribute for the family please visit www.brighthollandfuneralhome.com