Obituary Notices and Memorials


SMITH, Willie
SMITH, Willie Willie Smith was born on March 18, 1917 to Willie Smith Sr. and Maggie Beasley in Bellville, Texas. He was the youngest of four children. All of his siblings preceded him in death. Willie was raised by his grandparents, Spencer and Lizzie Austin. He graduated from Hempstead High School in Hempstead, Texas and enlisted in the Army in 1943. He served as a Military Occupational Specialist, Rifle Marksman, and Squad Leader. A veteran of World War II, he fought in New Guinea and the Philippines. Willie relocated to California in 1947. An inveterate entrepreneur, he hauled gravel in dump trucks to build freeways around LA, became a real estate agent, and for 20 years, he and his wife owned Liberty Liquor in Pacoima, California. They lived in Antelope Valley after retiring, until 2013.Willie met Birdie Bankett when he was 15, and she was 12. They married on October 16, 1937 in Fort Worth. They were happily married for 77 years, conceiving three children, Sandra, Victor, and Craig. Birdie was by his side until his final day on March 25, 2015, one week after he reached his 98th year. Willie is survived by his wife, Birdie Smith; 1 daughter; 2 sons; 7 grandchildren & 13 great-grandchildren. Services are Friday, April 10, 2015 at 1:30pm at the Golden West Galleria Chapel at Inglewood Park Cemetery, 720 E. Florence Avenue Inglewood, CA 90301. Donations in honor of Willie C. Smith may be made to: Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

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