A memorial service for Robert Leard Smith III, 67, of Tyler will be Saturday, July 13, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Marvin United Methodist Church with Dr. Doug Baker and the Rev. Perry F. Webb Jr. officiating under direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.
R.L. passed away on July 7, 2013, after a 13-year courageous battle with cancer.
R.L. was born on Jan. 27, 1946, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to Robert L. Smith Jr. and Retta Everette Smith. He graduated from Mount Lebanon High School in 1963 and Severn School in Severna Park, Md., in 1964. He attended the University of Virginia and graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While at UVA he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and the Naval ROTC.
After graduation, R.L. was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy
, serving as a lieutenant from 1969 to 1972 aboard the USS Mazama and USS Leahy during the Vietnam War
Upon leaving the service, R.L. worked as a stockbroker with Dean Witter in Washington, D.C. In 1974 he joined the United States Secret Service as a Special Agent in the Washington, D.C., Field Office. During his career with the Secret Service he was assigned to the Intelligence Division at USSS Headquarters, the Vice Presidential Protective Division for George H.W. Bush, the Miami, Fla., Field Office, and was the Resident Agent for the Tyler office. In 1995 he transferred to the Rome, Italy, Field Office where he was a liaison with foreign governments for counterfeit U.S. obligations, as well as having responsibilities for U.S. dignitaries traveling overseas. R.L. ended his federal career in the Austin Field Office as the Resident Agent in Charge during the time that Gov. George W. Bush became president-elect. He retired after 26 years of dedicated service and a distinguished career that gave him the opportunity to serve presidents and vice presidents, work with foreign dignitaries, travel the world and to be an eyewitness to historical events in the making.
In 2001, R.L. joined the staff of the newly formed Internet Bureau, serving as Chief Investigator under the direction of Texas Attorney General John Cornyn. In 2004 he transferred to Tyler where he was the manager of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for the Eastern District of Texas. After 10 years of employment with the State of Texas, R.L. again retired. That same year he began work as an investigative consultant with the law firm of Ireland, Carroll & Kelley. While health issues restricted his brief career with the firm, he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the "private" sector.
R.L. was a devoted sailing enthusiast his entire life and had the honor of serving as Commodore of the Tyler Yacht Club. He also enjoyed golf, hunting and was an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates. In later years he also enjoyed following the Texas Rangers. Because of his Scottish heritage, R.L. had a penchant for bagpipe music and was always moved by any rendition of "Scotland the Brave." He was a member of Marvin United Methodist Church and the Unity Sunday School Class.
Everyone who had the privilege to know and work with R.L. thought of him as a gentleman with a generous soul and giving heart, a dedicated and loving family man, a person of unquestionable character with a strong work ethic and a man of faith. He was a blessing and a lesson to all on how to be joyful and how to be courageous - right to the very end.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Diane Smith Schumacher.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Deborah Webb Smith; sons, Walker Smith, Arlington, Va., and Spc. Phillip Smith, United States Army; and by several nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Gary Gross and staff at the Blood and Cancer Center of East Texas and The Hospice of East Texas for their professional and personal care during R.L.'s illness.
Memorial donations may be made to Marvin United Methodist Church, 300 W. Erwin St., Tyler, 75702; USO, P.O. Box 96860, Washington, D.C., 20090; or The Hospice of East Texas Foundation, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, 75701.