Nathaniel Smith, Jr., died at his home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida on May 1, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. He was the eldest son of Nathaniel R. and Lena F. Smith. He was the second of seven children (two sons and five daughters). Preceding him in death were his parents Nathaniel and Lena Smith, and siblings Jocelyn, Juanita, Gwendolyn, and Theodore (Ted).
Affectionately known as Nate or Sonny, he leaves to cherish his memory after 55 years of a loving and devoted marriage, his wife, Jannie Vee Smith; three daughters, Veronica (Robert McCrackin), Valerie Houston, Chivonne Lowe, two sons, Theodore Harris (Pat), Thomas Maxwell (Christine); two sisters, Dr. Helen (Thomas Flagg), Clarice (Errol Pease), numerous sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, and friends.
Nate grew up in Midway, Georgia, graduated from Liberty County High School, and like many men of his generation joined the Air Force, initially as an aircraft mechanic and later as part of the Para Rescue Squadron. He retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant and started Ver-Val Enterprises, a small business aerospace/defense company (ground support equipment) whose customers included military, both foreign and domestic, as well as NASA.
Nate started his Christian walk at Midway Congregational Church in Midway, Georgia at an early age. Later in life, he joined Gregg Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida where he served as the chair of the Trustee Board for many years, Lay President, and many other positions within the church. He loved God and his church, but most especially his darling wife, Jannie, his immediate and full family, and numerous friends. He enjoyed being a business owner which afforded him the opportunity to lend a helping hand to many people, helping many in his community to grow and thrive. He lived a sacrificial life that was reminiscent of his Para Rescue Squadron’s motto, “So That Others May Live.”
Services will be held at Gregg Chapel AME Church/Life Center at 1 pm on Friday, May 6 at 15 Carson Dr. SE in Fort Walton Beach Florida and he will be buried alongside his parents at the Midway Congregational Cemetery in Midway, Georgia on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, please consider any of the following in his honor, feeding someone, sheltering someone, loving someone, making a donation to Gregg Chapel AME Church or Opportunity Place, or sending money to a charity of your choice – any act of kindness to make the world a better place.
Condolences may be placed and viewed online at emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com