Obituary for William Luther "Bill" Smith Jr.
Services to celebrate the life of William L. “Bill” Smith, Jr. 84, of Portales, will be at 10:00 AM, Sat, Oct. 14, 2017 at the University Baptist Church with Rev. Steve Smith and other family members officiating. All of his loving church family will be honorary pallbearers.
William L. Smith, Jr. was born Oct. 12, 1932 in Lake Arthur, NM to Edrie Loma (Frazier) and the late William Luther Smith, Sr. His Mother’s brother, Jessie Ford Frazier, joined the family and raised Bill and his brother and sister as if they were his own. Bill left his earthly home in Portales on Oct. 8, 2017. In 1946, the family moved to Portales where Bill graduated from Portales High School in 1950. One year later he joined the US Navy and served in the Pacific during the Korean War. While in the service, his ship and all its crew made an appearance in the movie “The Caine Mutiny.” Upon being discharged in 1955, he returned to Portales and began attending Eastern New Mexico University. On Feb. 14, 1958, he married the love of his life, Wilma Jean Swopes. In 1960, he graduated from ENMU with a degree in Business. Throughout his working career, Mr. Smith did a variety of jobs, from office administration for oil companies, to drywall and painting, and for several years he owned a photography business. During his time with Oasis Oil Company, he and his family lived for a period of two years in Tripoli, Libya. In 1984, Bill embarked on a career with the Internal Revenue Service. During these years, Bill was an active member of the Desayuno Kiwanis Club in Clovis. As an Auditor, he was known for being straightforward, even-handed and compassionate. Bill retired from the IRS in 1996. Despite the nature of his job, Bill made many friends during those years.
In retirement, Bill enjoyed woodworking as well as taking on various home improvement projects. He was always sure to have the most beautiful yard for blocks around their home. He was a Christian and faithful member of University Baptist Church. In 1992, ’95 and ’96 he did short term mission trips to Russia. This experience visibly impacted him for the remainder of his life.
He is survived by his wife, Wilma of their home; two sons and daughters-in-law, Steve and Kathy Smith of Portales and Karl and Melissa Smith of Clovis; five grandchildren, Jeremy (Ami) Smith, Timothy Smith, Daryn Smith, Valon Smith and Marin Smith; a great-grandson, Lincoln Walker Smith; and a sister, Vera Mae Foster of Artesia as well as many Nieces, Nephews and Cousins. He was proceeded in death by his Father in 1932, Ford Frazier, who raised him in 1977, his Mother in 1999 and his brother, Wesley “Bud” Smith who died in 1990.