Obituaries » Rayburn Gene Smith
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October 25, 1943 - December 22, 2022
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Colonel (US Army Retired) Rayburn Gene Smith of Hat Creek died Thursday, December 22 at Lynchburg General Hospital. He was born October 25, 1943 in Newport News, VA to the late Willard A. (Pete) Smith and Annie Elma Martin Smith. Though born in Newport News, Hat Creek was always his home, and the most important place in the world to him. Gene was a member of Hat Creek Presbyterian Church. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Anne Gray Houchens Smith; daughter Susan K. Smith of Richmond; daughter Victoria G. Hall (David) and their daughters Charlotte, Lydia, and Gwendolyn Hall, all of Chesapeake, VA; his brother Glenn Smith (Frances) of Amherst, VA and several nieces and nephews. He was recently preceded in death by a special cousin Edwin C. (Bud) Smith of Timonium, MD. Gene was a graduate of William Campbell High School, Virginia Commonwealth University, Liberty University, US Army Command and Staff College, and the US Army War College. He served his country with over 34 years of commissioned service. Among his many assignments, he was a Huey gunship pilot during 1965-1966 in Vietnam, serving with C Troop, First Squadron, Ninth Cavalry, First Cavalry Division (Airmobile.) For his active service, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal for Valor with 26 Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), Vietnam Service Medal (3rd award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (2nd award), Army Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Master Army Aviator Badge. After retiring from active service, he was the senior Army instructor for several JROTC units, concluding this part of his career at Halifax County High School. Gene was also a lifelong educator, serving during his civilian years as a history teacher and school administrator. Since retirement, he was able to invest more time and energy in his most valued interests by volunteering in several civic and historical organizations. A funeral service will be conducted by Pastor Dick Boswell and Pastor Matt Smith (Gene’s nephew) at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at Falling River Baptist Church at 2874 Wickliffe Rd., Brookneal, VA 24528. The family will receive friends following the service in the Fellowship Hall and at other times at the family home. If you choose to make a memorial contribution, the family requests that it be given to Patrick Henry’s Red Hill 1250 Red Hill Rd, Brookneal, VA 24528.