Lubbock Remembers Former Governor Preston Smith - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/20/03

Lubbock Remembers Former Governor Preston Smith

On Monday almost 500 loved ones paid tribute to a leader, a hero and most importantly a wonderful friend in the church he played a role in founding. Preston Smith leaves a legacy for the city of Lubbock, but his memory will forever have an impact on the lives he touched.

NewsChannel 11 Remembers Preston Smith
With the passing of one of Lubbock's most influential leaders, NewsChannel 11 remembers the life of Preston Smith.
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"I think in this era where there's not a lot of heroes left, he was a real hero to all of us and very close to his family," grandson, Rob Schmid says. Schmid says his grandfather, Governor Preston Smith, was one of a kind. "He was just really an inspiration to all of us," Schmid says.

Wearing his signature polka dot ties and cowboy hats, he was an inspiration who was full of life. "I remember his intensity of life in other words if you were gonna have fun a good way to do it would be to get ahold of my father," says Preston Michael Smith, his son.

To loved ones he was always willing to give, never asking for anything in return. And to fellow colleagues, he's the epitome of what a leader should be. "He exemplifies what a public servant is. He was so gracious and generous of his time and had a keen desire to help people," says State Representative Carl Isett.

"I'll remember him as a politician who really loved what he did. He loved Texas, he loved Texas Tech and he enjoyed being governor," said Senator Robert Duncan.

While serving as governor, he helped establish the Texas Tech Medical School and signed a bill authorizing the Texas Tech School of Law. "All my children went to Tech so they're familiar with Preston and one of them finished med school out here so we feel like we're almost kin. If he hadn't done it they wouldn't have had Tech to go to," says Charlotte Ayers, a friend of Smith.

But whether Smith was lifting up the concerns of Texas Tech, or fighting for West Texas, his friends remember him as a humble man who never forgot where he came from. "He was never arrogant. He never put on the airs that 'I'm the governor' he just always said, 'Well, I"m Preston Smith from Lubbock.' you know a real humble attitude," said State Representative Delwin Jones.

In addition to being a great leader, and family man, Smith was also dedicated to the church. He was one of the founders of St. John's United Methodist Church more than 60 years ago. And a regular member sitting his pew every Sunday, passing out his infamous keychains. "Just friendship he had there, and I treasure it very very much," Ayers says.

Whether giving keychains or signing on state bills, Preston Smith found a place in the hearts of Texans.

Preston Smith is survived by a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held in Austin, on Tuesday. Beginning at eight in the morning, a viewing will be held in the Senate chambers at the capital. Smith will then be buried with state honors Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Texas State Cemetery.

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