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Monday, December 5, 2022
2:30 - 3:30pm (Eastern time)
Joseph O’Neal Smith- Joe to his friends, Dad or Grandad to his favorites- entered into eternal rest on November 17, 2022. He was 84 years old. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Imogene “Gene” Susan Knapp, children Jessica, Noah, and MaryGene, sons-in-law Timothy and Andrew, daughter-in-law Melody, and nine grandchildren: Smith, Charlotte, Pierce, Gabriel, Imogen, Josephine, Cecily, August, and Callum. Joe was beloved to his family, and they to him.
Joe was born to Glenn Adjer Smith and Alice Hines Smith on October 22, 1938, the youngest of six children. He grew up in Jacksonville, FL, played football for Landon High School, and joined the Army directly after graduation. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Education from Florida State University where he also served as President of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He later earned Masters degrees in Education and Librarianship from Western Carolina University and the University of South Carolina respectively. He and Gene moved to Charleston, SC in the ‘70s where they both took jobs at the Medical University of South Carolina. He spent his work life devoted to education, and retired from MUSC as the Director of the Arts and Photography Department after 30 years of service. Joe had many professional accomplishments but never failed to put family first.
As a father, Joe taught his kids all kinds of important life-skills, like how to season a cast iron skillet, how to build a fire, fold a paper airplane, how to hold one’s mouth when throwing horseshoes, when a pancake is ready to flip, how to whistle, and how to free-hand draw a pirate ship. He taught them how to flag down a boat to get a tow back to the dock, and how to enjoy the hours spent floating along waiting for a boat to come by to flag down. He taught them how to pray for others, how to give a really good hug, that time with family is time well-spent, and that interests, hobbies, and passion projects are important to develop and pursue.
Joe loved history and civics, antiques, woodworking, gardening, beekeeping, genealogy, and photography, to name a few. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and, together with his family, loved to brainstorm ways to start businesses or services. He was weird and wonderful, and always ready with an historical or personal anecdote, an interesting fact, or song lyric to sing for any circumstance. The sound of Joe whistling under his breath as he worked in the garden and garage are the indelible soundtrack of a happy childhood enjoyed by his children - typically unintelligible but melodic just the same.
Joe served his community and was an active part of the life of St. Andrew’s Church. He came to know Jesus as an adult and served in the Kairos prison ministry, praise and prayer teams, as a greeter and usher, taught confirmation classes, and led a house church with Gene that met weekly for many years. Joe was also an active member in his local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Always the Great Scout, he led group camping trips to Cove Creek in Pisgah National Forest each summer. Many of our family’s most vivid memories are of enjoying a misty mountain morning curled up in the popup camper together. As a Scoutmaster, he considered the formation of young scouts to be one of his greatest civic accomplishments. He hardly ever missed a band or chorus concert, swim meet, soccer, football, baseball game, or school play. He was a five star dad.
Joe was the best of us. So many friends have said their memories of him are of welcome and kindness, of his warmth and jolly demeanor. Some said their first memory of Joe was of his gracious welcome into church. If there are greeters in heaven, surely he will be there with a styrofoam cup of coffee, a big smile and hearty laugh, introducing himself and showing the way.
A funeral service will be held at St. Andrew’s Church in Mt. Pleasant on Monday, December 5th at 2:30 pm with reception to follow in Sam’s Hall. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc., Mt. Pleasant Chapel. In lieu of flowers, a tax deductible donation can be made in Joe’s honor to Globe International at www.warrelieffund.org to help provide wood burning stoves for Ukranians without electricity and heat this winter. From the main page click GIVE, and under My Gift Preference, choose “Ukraine War Relief”, and type “Joe Smith” in the Note box during the donation process.