Autry Donnie Smith
May 13, 1941 – Nov. 5, 2013
NATCHEZ — Funeral services for Autry Donnie “Coach” Smith, 72, of Natchez, who died Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, after a courageous battle with cancer, will be at 2 p.m. today at Riverwood Family Funeral Service in Brookhaven with the Rev. Warren R. Coile and the Rev. Darel Daniels officiating.
Visitation was from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Mr. Smith was born May 13, 1941, the son of J.D. and Lura Arnold Smith of Natchez.
He was the youngest of four boys and graduated from Washington High School in 1959 and then went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi where he received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1963. He then started his teaching and coaching career, which was his real passion, in Monticello at Monticello High School. It was in Monticello that he met the love of his life, Elizabeth “Lib” Patterson. They married in 1965 in Prentiss. He then joined his oldest brother in Basile, La. to coach and teach at Basile High School. It was during that time Donnie and Lib became the proud parents of their only daughter, Paige Smith-Jordan. They then returned to Monticello in order for him to become principal, teacher, mentor and head coach of all sports for the young Lawrence County Academy. In 1980, Donnie began a 33-year career in the oilfield industry as a fluids engineer, where he became a highly regarded deep-water specialist for Baker Hughes. He served Baker Hughes throughout the Gulf of Mexico as well as serving as a consultant in Malaysia for the building of a new drill ship. Despite a busy schedule, Donnie volunteered his time to the sports program at Brookhaven Academy where his wife taught for over 20 years. He proudly served as a volunteer assistant football coach to Coach Hollis Rutter for a period of time. Donnie was the ultimate B.A. Cougar fan because of his love for all sports and his dedication to helping youth achieve their personal best.
He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and took great pride in his family. He loved following his granddaughter’s equestrian and sporting activities and was an avid hunter and gentleman farmer as well.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Leslie A. Smith and Dalton D. Smith.
Survivors include his wife, Lib; daughter, Page Jordan and husband, Keith; grandchildren, Victoria and Mary Elizabeth; brother, Gerald Rex Smith; and a number of nieces, nephews and in-laws.
The family would like to thank everyone for their love, kindness, prayers and support throughout this time. It was deeply appreciated.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, Texas 77210-4486 or The Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate.
Online condolences may be left at www.riverwoodfamily.com.