Richard Allen “Dick” Smith

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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This past July 4th, Independence Day took on fresh new meaning for a 2nd floor resident at Ivy Hall Nursing Home in Elizabethton.

After years of legs that wouldn’t work and words that wouldn’t form, Richard Allen “Dick” Smith broke free of that which held him back and walked (actually, he probably ran) into the mystery of what for all of us is still to come. No eyewitness can verify it, but most suspect his first words were in the form of a joke. He loved to laugh! More likely, his first words were, “Where’s Sue?”

Life as he preferred it ended a year-and-a-half earlier when his bride for life led the way from this life to the next. Suddenly, the man whose career was fixing telephones could no longer reach the one person whose voice he longed to hear – his beloved wife Dorothy Sue Smith. Since her death, every day for him was a busy signal, just one day closer to hearing her voice again.

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Born November 17, 1945, Dick grew up in Bristol where, one day in the summer of ’67, he came home from National Guard training, rode his motorcycle to the drive-in, and met a girl from Mountain City. Next thing you know, she was holding on tight to the stranger who was her soulmate. Six months later, they said, “I do.” A few years after that, Dick ditched the bike and bought his dream car (a Corvette) until Sue told him twins were on the way. So, in the ultimate act of love, he sold the car and bought a house which you could do in 1972. Their boys never knew a moment without unconditional love. Through their parents, they witnessed living for others, gratitude in every circumstance, kindness when kindness is in short supply, and laughter as often as possible. They taught their boys that God loved everybody – simple as that – so all of us should too. What a legacy!

Dick is survived by sons, Joe and Josh; daughter-in-law, Kristen; beloved grandchildren, Elijah, Hudson and Lucy; in-laws, Mike and Carolyn Matthews, Paul and Phyllis Morrison, and Frank and Charlene Morrison; and several nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to the staff of Ivy Hall Nursing Home for their incredible care and to the many friends at Memorial Presbyterian Church. 

Dick wanted minimal fuss, so family will gather to celebrate his life. He would want you to spend your money on someone you love or maybe a hot dog and a sweet tea. But if you wish, remember him by supporting two favorites – the ETSU Foundation and the Johnson City Railroad Experience Museum. Condolences may be sent to the Smith family online at

Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home & Cremation Services.