Obituary: Thomas J. Smith, Jr.

Tommy Smith, affectionately known as Papa or Mr. Tommy to his family and friends, entered the Church Triumphant on April 19, 2022, in Ruston, LA.  He was 80 years old. 

Born in Grenada, MS on July 12, 1941, Tommy was the only child of T.J. Smith and Marie Durr Smith.  In 1945, the family moved to Ruston where T.J., Sr. founded Motor Parts Service Company, also known as NAPA Auto Parts.  At age 13, Tommy began working at the store for his father.  After his father’s retirement, Tommy owned and operated the NAPA store, along with his own son, until his retirement in 2016.

Tommy was a proud member of the Ruston High School Class of 1959.  He also attended Louisiana Tech University and served for six years in the National Guard as a transport driver.  In 1966, he married the love of his life, the former Pat Oxford.  Tommy and Pat were married for 52 years until her passing in 2018.  They had two children…a daughter, Laura Ann Smith…and a son, Thomas J. “Trey” Smith III.  While Pat taught the children how to say “please” and “thank you,” it was Tommy who instilled in his children the importance of respecting their elders with a “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am.”  Up at five o’clock every morning, Tommy was a hard-working, honest, and well-respected businessman who made sure that his family lacked for nothing.

In his spare time, Tommy enjoyed indulging in his two favorite hobbies:  trapshooting and reloading shotgun shells.  He excelled in the sport of trapshooting and was inducted into the Louisiana Trapshooting Hall of Fame and competed for 25 consecutive years at the Grand American. To this day, he still holds the State record for the most registered targets shot at 288,000.  However, if you asked what his greatest trapshooting accomplishment was, he would tell you that it was introducing his son and grandsons to the sport and watching them excel at it as he did.

Tommy was the past president of the Arcadia Gun Club, a former board member of the Louisiana Trapshooting Association, and, most importantly, a mentor and friend to all in the sport whom he met along the way.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00AM on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home with Reverend Doug de Graffenried presiding, along with remembrances from Dr. Edwin Davis and other friends.  Visitation will begin at 9:00 A.M. in the Fellowship Hall.  Interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery immediately following the service under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston.  

Tommy Smith is preceded in death by his parents, T.J. and Marie Smith, and his beloved wife, Pat Oxford Smith.  He is survived by his daughter, Laura Smith; son and daughter-in-law, Trey and Adrianne Smith; and the three greatest joys of his life, his grandchildren Thomas, Hilton, and Camille Smith.

Pallbearers will be his grandsons Thomas and Hilton Smith, along with Billy Rockhold, Vence Smith, Greg Thomas, Mitch Killingsworth, Bo Shaw, Dave Crawford, Bruce Cowan, and Larry Clinton.  Honorary pallbearers will be Edwin Davis, Carl, Davis, Robert LaBorde, and Joe Rainer.

The family would like to acknowledge the MICU staff at St. Francis Medical Center, and the staff at Ruston Regional Specialty Hospital.  We are grateful to each of you for the professionalism, kindness, and compassion that you have shown to our father and to our family.

When the targets fly high, look to the sky and think of me.  “Shooters, ready? Can I see a bird, please?  Pull!!!”

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