By Linton Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Elbert County teachers, school administrators and a generation of former students are mourning the loss of Albert T. Smith, a local education professional for four decades, who passed away Monday night at the age of 96.
Former Elbert County School Superintendent Abe Plummer told WSGC News that Mr. Smith – who taught industrial arts and DCT classes here from 1946 through 1986 – will be remembered fondly by the students he taught and the fellow educators he worked with.
“He was a person who told you just what to expect in life,” Plummer said. “As he liked to tell us, he didn’t sugarcoat it. He said that the world is not waiting on you with open arms. He used the example that a bear was out there, and if you didn’t watch it, that bear would get you. What he meant by that is that people were not out there greeting you with open arms. You’ve got to get out there and earn it.”
Mr. Smith’s teaching career coincided with a time of change – before, during and after school integration. Plummer explained how Mr. Smith succeeded as an educator during that period.
“He could be sincere when he was talking to you,” he said. “I know the kids loved him. I know they did, because I was principal of the middle school from 1981 through 1987, and he was over there then. He got along very well. I don’t remember one parental complaint about Mr. Smith during those six years. That’s the type person he was, one who could work with anybody – I don’t care if you were black, white, blue or green. Whatever you were, he could work with you.”
Mr. Smith was a World War II veteran, serving in the Pacific Theater, and he was proud of that service, Plummer said.
“He loved being recognized when he’d wear his World War II cap, and people would say, ‘thank you for your service,’” he said. “They did not know how much he appreciated that … I wish people knew how much he loved the fact they recognized him because of his cap and would thank him for his service. I think we’ve lost a very strong person, a very influential person.”
Funeral services for Albert T. Smith are pending and will be announced by Mack’s Funeral Home, Elberton Chapel.