Cover photo for Kent Smith's Obituary
Kent Smith Profile Photo
1949 Kent 2024

Kent Smith

February 14, 1949 — June 25, 2024

Pilot Mountain, North Carolina

Robert Kent Smith, 75, of Pilot Mountain, passed away on June 25, 2024, after a courageous battle with cancer. Kent was the son of the late Nona Payne Smith and Robert E. Smith of Pilot Mountain. Born on February 14, 1949 and raised in Surry County, he attended East Surry High School where he was a star basketball player and where he established a number of lifelong friendships. He graduated in 1967 and attended Catawba College. He later settled in Charlotte and co-founded a photography company, American Studios. Though successful in business, family was by far the most important thing in Kent’s life. He loved fishing with his children early on Saturday mornings and taking them swimming every evening in the summer after he came home from work, even when he was tired from a long day in the office. He enjoyed travelling to play golf at courses all over the country. He especially loved to play with his son, Andy, and he also coached t-ball and basketball through the YMCA when Andy was younger. He loved cheering for Jennifer, who was a swimmer in her youth, helping her sell Girl Scout cookies, and taking her on father-daughter trips to New York to attend Broadway shows and visit museums and tourist attractions she wanted to see. He attended every school play and dance recital, and during elementary school drove her to school every day so they could eat breakfast together on the drive and enjoy special time. Later, he moved back to Pilot Mountain when his mother became ill, living with her and helping care for her for several years prior to her passing. During that time, he began teaching golf lessons at Pilot Knob Park Country Club, where he had been a fixture starting in his teenage years and where he had countless friends who loved and respected him. He especially enjoyed teaching junior golfers and running golf camps for children in the summer, providing clubs and access to camps for families who could not afford the cost of camp. He loved to follow his students’ successes as many went on to earn college scholarships. As a testimony of what he meant to the students he taught, he was often asked to write letters of recommendation and invited on several occasions to attend the signing ceremonies for students accepting golf scholarships to schools throughout the state.

 Of all the jobs and roles he undertook in his lifetime, none was more important to him than that of being a grandfather to his precious grandchildren, who called him Gugga and loved him deeply. His commitment to his grandchildren was unwavering. He often said they were the first thing he thought of when he woke up and the last thing when he went to sleep. When they were younger, he drove carpool and was well-known by the staff at their small elementary school, where he attended class field trips with Elizabeth, spent days building an Iroquois longhouse with Rebecca for a school project, and taught Benjamin how to do impressive card tricks to show his classmates. He helped all of them learn to fish, swim, ride bikes, tie their shoes, pump their legs on the swing and play poker and Blackjack. He never missed their class presentations, basketball and baseball games, karate practice and belt ceremonies, swim meets, talent shows, Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, horseback lessons and shows, and concerts for band, orchestra, guitar, and chorus. He loved breakfasts with them at Elmo’s Diner, and, when they were younger, shopping for their shoes at Stride Rite and making stuffed animals at Build-a-Bear. He knew all the songs from their favorite Disney movies, and often watched Moana, Tangled, Frozen, Lion King, and Cars when he was at his home by himself because it made him feel close to them. He kept a stuffed Simba on his bed that they gave him for Father’s Day when they were young. Of course, he was also always present to celebrate their birthdays and Christmas, attend 4th of July parades, go trick-or-treating on Halloween, and help pass out candy to neighborhood children. There was no one who knew Kent who did not know of his pride in his grandchildren and his love of watching them grow. When he became ill in November of 2023, he came to live with Jennifer and her family. Even when he didn’t feel well he loved having the children lie on his bed and watch movies, the World Poker Tournament, billiards, and golf, or just snuggle with him and talk. His love for his family was truly unconditional and we were all so blessed to have him.

 In addition to his parents, Kent was preceded in death by his much-loved nephew, Robert Kevin Jones. He is survived by his daughter Jennifer Smith Seamans (Brian); son Andrew Kent Smith (Laura); sister Phyllis Smith Atkins; brother Mark Smith (Angie); grandchildren Elizabeth Grace, Benjamin Jacob, and Rebecca Caroline Kramling and step-grandson Derrick James Seamans; as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins, who all loved him dearly.

 A funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2024, at 2:00 PM at First Methodist Church in Pilot Mountain with Reverend Jeremy Pegram officiating. Interment will follow in the Pilot Mountain City Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Saturday, June 29, 2024, at the First Methodist Church from 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM.

 The family offers sincere thanks to the staff of the Duke Cancer Center and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Autism Society of North Carolina (autismsociety-nc.org/donations).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kent Smith, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 29, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church

210 W Marion St, Pilot Mountain, NC 27041

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, June 29, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church

210 W Marion St, Pilot Mountain, NC 27041

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Saturday, June 29, 2024

3:00 - 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

Pilot Mountain City Cemetery

850 W Main St, Pilot Mountain, NC 27041

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 3448

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree