A Final Farewell To Governor Preston Smith - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/21/03

A Final Farewell To Governor Preston Smith

It was an emotional and powerful day for hundreds who gathered to honor the legendary Preston Smith. Governor Smith was truly loved by everyone he met, and he took the time to get to know as many people as he could. His service, according to his family and friends, was exactly what he would've wanted and what he deserved. 

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"It's a tremendous honor for my family that there is such an outpouring of people and emotion here. It really just means a lot to me to see the history around the life that my grandfather led," said Preston's grandson, Rob Schmid.

"I was born in '71 so I didn't really get the chance to be around my grandfather when he was in office. But, now growing up it's just a great honor to have known him and the lineage he left behind. All the friends and support," said Preston's grandson Conrad Smith.

Friends that have stood by him in and out of office for more than 50 years. "I worked for Governor Smith with I was in law school. I worked for him when he was Lt Governor then when he was Governor and helped with his campaign and it was a great experience. Then, he encouraged me when I ran for Congress and Senate and was always a mentor and an advisor and just a great person, and a statesman and he loved people," said former Lubbock Congresman and Senator, Kent Hance.

His love for people was obvious as more than 300 people gathered Tuesday at the Texas State Cemetery when he was laid to rest, next to his wife of 63 years, Ima Smith. He was known as a man of character, with a collection of more than 2,500 polka-dot ties, a Cowboy hat in hand, and Red Raider pride.

"Preston Smith will go down in the history of our state as one of the finest and best and one of the most effective, and again I think one of his greatest legacy's is Texas Tech, and what greater legacy could any individual have," said former Texas Governor, Dolph Briscoe.

"Preston was the Godfather of Texas Tech. He was the ultimate. We wouldn't be where we are today in Lubbock if it weren't for Preston Smith. We wouldn't have the Law School, the Medical School, he was able to get that done," said Hance.

"This Governor probably did more for Texas Tech than any other Governor in Texas History," said former Texas Governor, Mark White.

While funeral's are normally a private time for family's, the Smith family was honored to have the large turnout and outpouring of support.

Smith leaves behind two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Smith was an avid fly fisher, an advocate of higher education and truly one of the biggest Red Raider fans ever. He was a loyal mason, and his service Tuesday included a Masonic Tribute.

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