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60 Industrial Blvd
Pensacola, FL 32503
Phone: 850-438-6235
Fax: 850-438-5758
Willie Smith

Willie Dee Smith

Monday, February 22nd, 1932 - Friday, September 18th, 2020
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Obituary

Willie Dee Smith, age 88, of Milton, Florida, passed away, September 18, 2020.
Willie was born to Rube and Ollie Smith, February 22, 1932, in Santa Rosa County. He graduated from Allentown High School, class of 1951. After graduation, he joined the US Army for three years. Upon returning, he went to work civil service at NAS Whiting Field. In the 50’s, Willie began racing with his brother, Rex, and that led to a lifelong love of drag racing. In 1972, he left his job at Whiting, to open Smith’s Hi-Performance Center.
Often referred to as “Mr. 427”, because of his vast knowledge and love of Ford racing, Willie inspired and mentored many young racers, also, helping and supporting local racers by his own “credit system”. He spent many weekends racing with his son, Lyle, and, eventually, also, with his grandson, Casey.
Inspired by Chet Atkins, he enjoyed playing guitar and led music at Hollandtown Holiness Church, where he was a lifelong member.
Willie was preceded in death by his parents, Rube and Ollie Smith; brother, Rex Wayne Smith, Sr.; and mother-in-law, Eva Casey (Nanny).
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Alice Marie Smith; children: Lyle Smith (Cynthia), Deanna McDavid (Rob), Kay Downs, Darrell Smith, and Melinda McCreless (Greg); grandchildren: Casey (Amanda), Shelley (Jeremy), Amy, April, Jacob (Christina), Kyle (Amanda), Brittany, Tyson (Whitney), Corey, Conner, & Olivia; great-grandchildren: Bo, Rhett, Marie, Jackson, Ellie, Addison, Barrett, Lincoln, and Cooper; sister, Louise Gandy; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Willie Dee never met a stranger and always had a kind word to say.
A private graveside service will be held at Serenity Gardens. Pallbearers will be his grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hollandtown Holiness Church, c/o Dorothy Prescott, 3995 Highway 4, Jay, FL, 32565.
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Service Details

  • Private Family Service

    Sunday, September 20th, 2020 |
    When
    Sunday, September 20th, 2020
    Location
    Serenity Gardens Cemetery
    Address
    6208 Stewart Street
    MILTON, FL 32570
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Private family service.
    Officiant
    Jim Lassiter
  • Interment

    Location
    Serenity Gardens Cemetery
    Address
    6208 Stewart Street
    MILTON, FL 32570
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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MC

Mike Cooney

Posted at 05:26pm
I first met Willie D. about 1966. I was in the Navy and loved to street race! I and a couple of friend sspent many nights at that little shop on Ala st. I bought many speed parts and got an unbelievable amount of Ford knowledge from him. I don't think he ever forgot anyones name and was generous and kind to everyone. God Bless his soul and he will be missed for many years!!
AN

Aaron Nowling

Posted at 11:50am
I first met Willie Dee late one night out on highway 89. He was working the bugs out of a 54 Ford with a 312 Thunder special engine in it. Later, I would drop by his shop at the curve of Alabama Ave. Later I bought a 55 Ford and the engine had to be replaced. Willie Dee supplied me with a 312 Thunder Special Engine. Boy, did have the get-up-and-go. Off and on I would continue my visits at his shop and also with Rex Wayne. After joining the Marine Corps in 1963, I lost contact with Willie Dee for several years; however, when coming home on leave, I would always stop and see him at his new shop on North Steward St. Willie Dee was such an interesting person and he and I would have conversations way into the night. He will be missed by many acquainted with him.
Aaron Nowling
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