July 6, 1925 - March 1, 2018
Willie Brown Smithson was reunited with his beloved wife, Ruby, in Heaven on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Willie was born on July 6, 1925 in Cannon County, Tennessee to the late Joe Brown and Mai Keaton Smithson. He married his sweetheart, Ruby Johnson, on Friday, July 13th, 1945. They moved to Murfreesboro in the late 1940's and resided there until 2016 when they moved to an assisted living facility.
He worked hard all of his life to provide for his family. Willie worked for the railroad in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the early years of his marriage. He later worked for Lane Cedar Company in Smyrna, Tennessee and then General Electric in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Willie retired from General Electric in 1987, but was never a man who could be idle. He started his own business with his wife, Ruby. Willie built custom golf clubs as well as selling items at flea markets with Ruby. He eventually focused solely on his golf shop. He continued with this labor of love until his final retirement in 2016. Willie met countless people and made an abundance of wonderful friends during his working years and especially during the years he ran the golf shop. Willie’s golf shop was the ultimate “Man Cave” and many stories, jokes and laughs were shared there.
Willie enjoyed gardening and had a beautiful vegetable garden in his younger years and always had an abundance of flowers in the summer months. He was blessed with a green thumb and could make any plant or flower thrive under his care. Willie’s favorite hobby was golf. He was an avid golfer and always enjoyed playing “a round” with his buddies. A particular point of pride for Willie was his Hole-In-One on October 24, 1996 at Old Stone Fort Golf Course in Manchester, TN.
Willie was preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Ruby Johnson Smithson, his parents, his daughter, Pat Gilley; his great-grandson, Nicholas Gilley; his great granddaughter, Kate Gilley, sisters: Oleta Hughes Thompson and Mattie Lee Hughes, brothers: Edd Smithson, Lynn Smithson and Bob Smithson. He was also preceded by his faithful canine companion, Whiskers.
Willie is survived by his daughter, Britt Phillips (Randall); grandson, Shane Gilley (Kelly); granddaughter, Anjanette Benjamin (Dennis), great grandsons: Matt Gilley and Jackson Gilley; sister-in-law, Hazel Vanhook; and a host of loving nieces, nephews and friends.
Willie was raised in the Methodist faith and accepted Christ as a young married man. He was a member of Fair Havens Independent Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.
Willie’s countless friends have stood by him throughout his illness. They have visited, called, written and shared stories of their time with him. These are a testament to a life well lived and are treasured by the family. Thank you for these things that we can hold in our hearts to remember this man whom we love so much.
Funeral services will be at Woodfin Memorial Chapel in Murfreesboro. Reverend Steve Hutson will officiate. Interment will follow at Roselawn Memorial Gardens.
Grandsons and friends will serve as pallbearers.
Ruby Johnson Smithson
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