Cover photo for Paul "Papa" Smith's Obituary
Paul "Papa" Smith Profile Photo
1932 Paul 2020

Paul "Papa" Smith

March 31, 1932 — April 25, 2020

Indianapolis, IN

Paul Howard Smith was born March 31, 1932 to the late Vina Louise Smith-Mitchell and Robert Jennings. He grew up in Richmond, VA and spent much of his youth at his family farm in Emporia, VA. He was the youngest of three children.

He attended Booker T. Washington Elementary School and Maggie L. Walker High School in Richmond, VA. On December 23, 1952 he was united in marriage to Iris Christian and to this union 6 children were born.

He was drafted into the Armed Forces in June of 1952 and soon after voluntarily enlisted. He served his country and spoke fondly of his experiences. He traveled and saw the world. While serving his country he was stationed in Japan, Germany, Alaska and saw combat in the Korean War. He was a paratrooper. He enjoyed jumping from planes so much that he would offer to take other soldiers jumps while taking their money in the process. He had fun playing tricks on his fellow service men and had many stories to tell about his military days. He served his country for more than 16 years and was honorably discharged. Sgt. Smith received the Good Conduct Medal and the Expert Badge for Pistol and Carbine.

Upon Leaving the military he settled in Kentucky and worked factory jobs. He met George Freeman who introduced him to his sister Dorothy. It wasn’t long before Dorothy and Paul were united in marriage on July 8, 1972. To this union one daughter was born. They lived happily in Indianapolis, IN for 47 years. Paul worked for UAW-GM for 18 years and retired in 1999. He was a member of Womack Memorial CME Church where he served as a trustee, steward, and member of the men’s fellowship for 46 years. Bro Paul could be found faithfully sitting on the 2nd pew across from his Dorothy.

On April 25, 2020 he gave up his earthly tabernacle and stepped into glory. He joined his wife Dorothy who proceeded him in death and was reunited with his sons Otis, Ray Howard, Paul Jr., Rondell and his sister Gladys that died a few days prior to him. He leaves to mourn him his children David Smith, Doug Swope, Edith Smith, Michael Smith, Raoul (Theresa) Swope, Renita Swope, Rosemary (James) Thomas, Tamra (Jonathan) Simpson, Toni Hopson, Valarie (Norris) Wright, his brother Raymond Smith, his sister-in-law Ada Brown, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.

His family will miss his handsome smile, his sweet disposition and his playful ways. He had a knack for giving everyone a nickname that made them feel special. He was a man of faith. At 88 years old he still got on his knees to pray every night. He touched many lives. He leaves behind a lasting legacy of many that will refer to him affectionately as PaPa.

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