Dr. William N. Smith

Published 8:13 am Monday, November 27, 2023

Dr. William N. Smith was born December 13, 1924, in Smith, KY where he spent his childhood. At 17, he left home for Baltimore, MD to pursue work in an aircraft factory during the height of World War II. Soon after, he enlisted and served in the army air corps. As a radio operator on a cargo plane, he flew regularly over the Himalayas, ferrying supplies to the front lines in Asia. He was awarded several medals in recognition of the high-risk service he performed overseas.
After the war, he attended Lincoln Memorial University, and remained always grateful to the “above and beyond” help he received from the professors at LMU, which enabled him on his path to medical school.
It was at a diner off the LMU campus that he encountered a beautiful young woman, Nancy DeBusk, who he vowed to marry at first site. They spent 68 years married before Nancy’s passing in 2014.
Dr. Smith attended medical school at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, and began his practice of medicine in Harlan, Kentucky. He later moved to Tazewell, Tennessee, where he not only provided care to the community but also encouraged industry investment into Claiborne County. He remained active in his medical practice until he was 90 years old. During this time, he spent many years working as a lay minister, which was one of the highlights of his life.
His boundless love for people and his trust in Christ permeated every aspect of his world. He was dedicated to bringing not only medical service but also faith to his patients. He counseled many in their last hours about the grace of God and opportunity to accept Christ before their death.
The most accurate summation of his entire life came from one of his longtime employees. “He never would say, ‘I am very busy could you come back later’. He took time to talk to family, friends, employees, patients, it didn’t matter who. He really cared about everyone.”
Dr. Smith was almost as well known for his water-skiing instructions on Lake Norris as he was for his devotion to his patients. Although he was raised during the Great Depression and lived through WWII, he continued to grow in his playfulness and optimism throughout his life. He was a gifted storyteller, lover of card games, and celebrator of great dessert. Often self-described as a “Hillbilly grandfather,” he brought joy and laughter to so many lives he touched.
He is survived by his two children Dr William B. Smith and Nancy S. Parkey, the precious grandchildren that he loved, and the great grandchildren that he only recently welcomed into the world.
There will be a private graveside service later. Arrangements by Cremation Options, Inc. (865)6WE-CARE (693-2273) www.cremationoptionsinc.com.