Bennie Dongene Smith was born in Longview, Texas, on February 21, 1927, to parents Bennie T. and Lillian Morton Smith. On June 12, 2019, he left his earthly home with family at his side. He spent his childhood in Fort Worth living in a multi-generational home during the Great Depression. The family relocated to the Judson area where he attended Judson Grove High School. During High School, he excelled at all sports and competed at the State level. He attended both Paris Junior College and North Texas State University. During WWII, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Western Pacific.
After leaving the Navy, he returned to Longview and went to work for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (SWBT), a job that he loved for over 40 years. Bennie D. designed projects all over Texas while serving as an engineer for SWBT.
An ordained deacon, Bennie D. served in many capacities at Oakland Heights Baptist Church including Sunday school teacher, chairman of the ushers and other committees.
Bennie D. became an avid and accomplished golfer during his retirement until age 91. He was part of a long-time foursome that included Jerry Burge, Major Flannigan and Bobby Grantham. Throughout his life, he loved to travel and logged thousands of miles driving his children and grandchildren all over the United States and Canada. He also enjoyed being a high school sports spectator and was a Longview Lobos Football season ticket holder for over 50 years.
Bennie D. is survived by his loving wife Gayle Smith, son Donald Smith of Fort Worth, daughter Nikki Smith of Longview, grandson Dylan Smith and his wife Lana Martin, of Los Angeles, granddaughter Hannah Smith and her partner Jon Dally of Dunsmuir, CA, sister Betty Jane Cabbiness, numerous nieces and nephews and his loyal granddog Ralph Waldo Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant son Robert Joseph.
The family wishes to thank the many health care providers who supported Bennie D. during the last few months of his life, particularly Heart to Heart Hospice and George Leatherman, MD.
The family will have a time of visitation at 1:00 p.m. Monday, June 17, 2019, at the Oakland Heights Baptist Church Family Life Center, followed by a Life Celebration service at 2:00 p.m.