- Cullman, Alabama

October 12, 2012

Lecil Norman Smith

Cullman Heritage Funeral Home

CULLMAN — Lecil Norman Smith

Lecil Norman Smith, 88, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Brookwood Medical Center.

Mr. Smith was born March 27, 1924, to George W. and Ora Diane Smith of Parrish, Ala. He attended Meek High School in Arley, Ala. His final year of high school was interrupted by a call to military service. He proudly served in the European Theatre during World War II, where he earned a Bronze Star for his service during the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhineland Offensive and was chosen as a member of the honor guard to fire a 21-gun salute when President Roosevelt died.

After returning home from the war, Mr. Smith graduated from high school in 1947, and married Jessie Sue Chappell Aug. 7,1947. Their daughter, Susan, was born Feb. 16, 1957.

Mr. Smith earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Jacksonville State Teachers' College in 1953 and a master of arts degree in education administration from the University of Alabama in 1963.

Mr. Smith's career as an educator spanned 40 years. He was a gifted motivator who inspired countless students to continue their educations and achieve their goals. One of his greatest joys in life was seeing the results of the caring and concern he had for his students.

Mr. Smith began his career teaching math and coaching junior high school basketball in Cullman County. His basketball teams won county and district championships. He served as an elementary school principal, and in 1966, was appointed as assistant superintendent of Cullman County Schools. In that capacity, he implemented the beginning of the Federal 89-10 Title I program for all schools in Cullman County. He was a mason and had received his 50-year masonic pin from the West Point Lodge.

During his career, Mr. Smith served as president of the Cullman County Teachers' Association, a member of the Cullman-Morgan Counties' Mental Health Board, president of the Cullman County Athletic Association, treasurer of the Eighth District Athletic Association, and a member of the North Alabama Regional Consortium of Governments. He also worked to develop a migrant program as well as a mobile library for all Cullman County Schools with an emphasis on reaching underachieving students.

In 1971, Mr. Smith joined the Federal Programs Staff at the Alabama State Department of Education, serving as a consultant to some of the largest school systems in Alabama for 19 years and serving as the director of the state's Title I Program from 1985-1990.

Following his retirement in 1990, Mr. Smith returned to Cullman and served 10 years on the Cullman County Park and Recreation Board, including as the chairman. He also spent many hours volunteering as a poll worker and as an assistant in the development of an outdoor learning center for the Cullman City Primary School. He was inducted into the Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 for his work as a coach.

Mr. Smith was a faithful member of the Haskell Berry Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church in Cullman. He was an avid Alabama football fan who loved dancing, classical music, and his dog, Joy.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Jessie Sue Smith; his daughter, Susan Elise Smith Kraft, son-in-law, Randy Franklin Kraft; his granddaughter, Emilie (Matthew) Susan Kraft; his great-granddaughter, Eve Alexandra Kraft-Cooper; one brother, Cecil (Diane) Smith; one sister, Wanda (Wayne) Coggins; and a host of other family, close friends and former students.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, two brothers, and a grandson, Kristian Alexander Kraft. '

Visitation will be at First Baptist Church of Cullman from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. A funeral service conducted by Dr. Ed Hayes, Rev. Jerry Cole, Rev. Bruce Farr and Joe Montgomery will follow at the church at 2 p.m., and Mr. Smith will be interred in Cullman City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Lecil and Sue Smith Endowed Scholarship, the University of Alabama, Box 870101, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.