Afton W. Smith Jr. died peacefully on Tuesday morning, April 21, 2015, at Dosher Memorial Hospital, Southport. He was 87.
Mr. Smith was born in Southport on May 10, 1927, the son of the late Afton Wescott Smith Sr. and Georgia Carrier Smith. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Evelyn Smith Dosher and Eula Mae Wilmoth.
Afton is survived by his wife of 63 years, Edythe Purvis Smith, of the home; son, Raymond Wescott Smith and granddaughter, Rachel Nicole Smith, of Oak Island; first cousin, Ozen W. (Son) Carrier, of Southport; nieces, Eula Mae Wilmoth Franck and Edie Wilmoth Crocker, both of Southport; nephew, Joseph Wayne Wilmoth, of Southport; a sister-in-law, Ethel Purvis, of Southport; brother-in-law, Albert C. Purvis (Virginia) and their family, of Georgia; and many great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.
Afton was a native of Southport and proud of his heritage. Except for his military service and a few short-term jobs, he considered himself blessed to spend the majority of his life in camaraderie with his family and friends. He was quick to welcome newcomers to this place he was proud to call home and to share with them his memories and the local history of his boyhood in Southport and Long Beach.
He attended Southport Baptist Church from infancy until death severed his earthly relation. On Aug. 19, 1945, while on leave from the U.S. Navy, he was baptized into the fellowship of Southport Baptist Church and as a member served in many, many capacities, officially and voluntarily. He exemplified his belief and strong faith and witnessed the plan of redemption, salvation and sanctification to all he met. He was pleased to have received the honor of deacon emeritus for his years of service on the Board of Deacons.
He was a U.S. Navy veteran of WWII, enlisting as soon as he was of age, and served most his enlisted time in the Pacific before receiving an honorable discharge in 1946. He was on staff with the U.S. Army Civilian Service in the Equipment Division of Military Ocean Terminal Operation, Sunny Point, when he retired in June 1987 after working at the site since it was under construction more than 50 years ago.
He was a 51-year member and a past master of Pythagoras Masonic Lodge No. 249. He was a member and past patron of Goldenrod Chapter No. 142 Order of the Eastern Star in Wilmington.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 24, 2015, at Peacock – Newnam & White Funeral Service, 1411 N. Howe St., Southport and at other times at the home. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25, 2015, at Southport Baptist Church. Following the service burial will be held at Northwood Cemetery.
Afton’s heart was touched by the special needs of children. Donations in his memory may be made to The Baptist Children’s Homes of NC, P.O. Box 338 Thomasville, NC 27361; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 613377, Memphis, TN 38101; or to the charity of your choice.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Peacock – Newnam & White Funeral Service.
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