Rex Wayne Smith, Sr., 79, of the Hollandtown community in Jay, Florida, left his earthly home for his eternal home in heaven on July 17, 2020 in Pensacola, Florida after a brief illness.
“Big Rex”, as he is so well known, was born August 8, 1940 to Rube and Ollie Smith. The second of three children, Big Rex grew up in a strong Christian family. He divided his time between working hard on the family farm and working harder on the football field. His love and skill of the game gave him recognition and several awards. One memory he fondly recalled was getting to meet Bear Bryant.
After graduating with the 1959 class of Jay High School, he joined the army and completed two terms of duty. Upon returning home, he started working at Milton Auto Parts until his hiring with Monsanto where he worked for thirty years.
Big Rex had a passion for drag racing. Along with his brother Willie Dee, they began the joint business Smith High Performance and the Smith Bros racing team. One of their most memorable cars being Mr. 427.
Once he hung up his racing suit, he was well known all over the south for his pit bulls. Later, he was the owner of Rex Smith Arena until his health began to fail. He received his first of two heart transplants in 1996. With the gift of organ donation, Big Rex was blessed with another twenty-three years. He is currently the record holding heart transplant recipient at UAB.
Anyone who knew Big Rex knew he loved to talk a lot! Not many who came in to contact with him walked away without a story or hearing some of his famous sayings. We still do not know John Brown, although he referred to him often. We all have high self esteem because the girls are all pretty and the boys are all #1 champs. We were all the favorite as long you do not tell the other ones. We have enjoyed countless Subway, Hungry Howie’s, Cokes, boiled peanuts, and candy bars. He always remembered to buy the best but made sure it was on sale.
Big Rex loved his family dearly and always enjoyed a sporting event or special occasion together. Those left to cherish his memory are his sons: Rowdy (Leanna), Rodney (Candace), and Rex, Jr. (Theresa); his brother, Willie Dee (Alice); sister, Louise Gandy; one granddaughter, Gracyn; seven grandsons: Cody, Cade, Dakota, Cody, Landon, Colton, and Race; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
We will always miss the long conversations and his one of a kind presence, but we can never forget how much he loved us because the last thing he would always say was “Don’t forget, I love you.”
Service will be 4:00 p.m., Saturday, July 25, 2020 at Hollandtown Holiness Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you make donations to your local food bank.