William “Randy” Randolph Smith Jr. was born Dec. 15, 1939, in Little Rock, and died Nov. 14, 2020, in Stuttgart
He was predeceased by his father, William “Bill” Randolph Smith and his mother, Catherine Hardin Smith. He is survived by his brother, Malcolm, Smith (Cippy); his niece, Kimberly Morgan (Chris); his nephew, Rich Smith (Rachel); and five great-nephews, Cole, Gray, Richardson, Rowan and Ryder.
Randy’s life and what he accomplished can be an inspiration to anyone who faces a challenge. At a very early age, Randy was taught by his parents to live up to his potential. And his parents were very proud of him; he not only lived up to his potential, you could probably say he lived beyond it. He worked at Goodwill in Little Rock for several years. After he moved to Stuttgart with his parents in 1967, he was a valued employee in the housekeeping department at Stuttgart Memorial Hospital for 35 years. At the hospital he was honored as Employee of the Month in March 1993. In May of 1993 he was given a Service Award and was recognized for his 25 years of service to Stuttgart Memorial Hospital.
Stuttgart Ricebirds’ Head Coach, George Burke and the football team made Randy an honorary member of the football team in 1998 and he attended all home and away games wearing his #55 official team jersey. Coach Burke said “Smith services as an inspiration to my players”. Randy began his duties as water boy for the team in 1998 (aka “official water technician”). Phrases about Randy used frequently in interviews and newspaper articles were: “#One Water Boy Randy”, “honorary team manager”, “Ricebird Randy” and The Ricebird’s Number One Fan”. He was given sideline privileges as the water boy and could be seen aiding the cheerleaders’ efforts and heard encouraging the players throughout the games for many years. Along with the whole team, Randy was given a championship ring when the Ricebirds won the state championship in 2002. That ring was his prized possession.
Randy was embraced with open arms by the Ricebird football team, coaches and cheerleaders; and by the doctors, nurses and employees at the Stuttgart hospital. His life revolved around the Ricebirds and the hospital for many years. Randy impacted so many lives and conversely so many people impacted his life. Randy never met a stranger. He may not have known your name or he may have pronounced it wrong, but when he saw you, you were always his best friends and he was always excited to see you. Randy was always happy and had a positive outlook on everything.
Randy was a very special, unique person who led a very special and unique life. He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him in Stuttgart, Little Rock, Pathfinders in Jacksonville and Chambers Nursing Home in Carlisle. To sum up Randy’s life: He loved everybody and everybody loved Randy.
A private graveside service, officiated by Misti Coker, will be held at Lone Tree Cemetery by Turpin Funeral Home of Stuttgart.
In lieu of flowers, members can be made to the Randy Smith Memorial Fund at Farmers and Merchants Bank, 708 S. Main, Stuttgart, AR 72160. The funds will be used for the Ricebirds Booster Club and Stuttgart Memorial Hospital Foundation.