TIFTON — John W. Smith, long-time Tift County educator and Board of Education member, died on Sunday, Aug. 18.

Smith passed due to complications following a heart attack in July.

He is remembered in the community as a great man who always had the interests of children first and foremost in all he did.

Smith began his career with the Tift County school system at Wilson Elementary and High School in 1964 as a teacher. In 1970 he went to teach at Tift County High School and became assistant principal there in 1973. In 1979 he became principal at J.T. Reddick Middle School.

“He spent 16 years as a principal at Reddick,” said Tift County School Superintendent Adam Hathaway. “Which was just awesome, that he was there for 16 years.”

Even after his retirement in 1995, Smith continued to be involved in the school system by running for and being elected to the Tift County Board of Education in 2003, representing District 2.

Smith served four full four year terms and had just been reelected for his fifth term in 2018.

Hathaway said that Smith’s impact in Tift County was hard to define and that he had touched countless lives.

“He’s played an integral role in the evolution of Tift County schools over the past 16 years,” he said. “Without a doubt he has made a tremendous impact on everything that has been done here over the last 16 years.”

Smith will lie in state at Allen Temple AME Church, located at 1908 S. Park Ave., Thursday and Friday. Visitation will be Friday, Aug. 23 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The funeral will be held Saturday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center.

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