Obituary for Homer Paul Rutledge Smith February 27, 1923 - January 10, 2021 James Alexander and Ida Belle Mizell Smith welcomed their seventh child, a son, Homer Paul Rutledge Smith, to their home in Ozark, Alabama on February 27, 1923.
Family stories abound about the naming of this last child of the family, from naming him Buttercup (the name given to a new calf instead) to naming him for one of the older children’s favorite teacher. However, all are agreed that the Homer was added to the front of the siblings’ choice of Paul Rutledge to satisfy James’ older brother, Homer Rutledge, who had no children of his own. Homer Paul Rutledge grew up between the two families, sleeping at his family’s home every night and going every morning to help at Uncle Homer’s home assisting his bedridden aunt get ready for the day.
As a 12-year old Boy Scout, Rutledge travelled to California, where he met the original “Little Rascals”. Family members prize his picture with the Hollywood stars.
After graduating from high school, Rutledge worked for the Corps of Engineers helping to build Fort Rucker, Alabama, where infantry divisions received training during the Second World War.
Shortly after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Rutledge joined the U.S. Navy, where he served most of his time aboard the battleship USS Pennsylvania and an ammunition ship, the USS Sitkin.
Rutledge followed his wartime service attending Alabama Polytechnic University at Auburn, Alabama (now known as Auburn University), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and met the love of his life, Jane Walden, a preschool teacher at the university’s children’s program for faculty, where Rutledge’s nephew attended.
Upon graduation from Auburn, Rutledge and Jane married July 16, 1949 and traveled to their new home in East Texas, where Rutledge was employed by the Texas Highway Department, now known as Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), living first in Woodville and moving to Jasper a year later. Rutledge continued to work for the highway department for the next 40 years, serving as resident engineer for Newton, Jasper and Tyler counties for many of those years.
Rutledge was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Jasper, where he served first as 6th grade boys’ Sunday School teacher and later as a deacon, treasurer, member of the Benevolence Committee and member of the Happy Years’ Club and Gideons International. He loved to tell others about Christ’s love and to share how the Lord had delivered him from his smoking habit when he was in his 40’s. He enjoyed woodworking, traveling, outdoor grilling, bike riding, and working in his yard. He will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, dry sense of humor, for treating all people the same, but most of all, his love for his family.
He is survived by his wife, Jane, and their five children, including daughter Lucy and son-in-law Kevin Casteel of Westland, Michigan, daughter Patti and son-in-law Louis Parker of League City, daughter Becky and son-in-law Floyd French of League City, son Paul Smith of Jasper, daughter Debbie and son-in-law Clarence Miller of Lufkin. Also, granddaughter Mikki (Billy) Stovall of Lufkin, grandson Dusty Miller of Lufkin, grandson Jason Meade of Houston, granddaughter Jodi Meade of Cedar Park, granddaughter Holly (Ryan) Peel of League City, grandson Trevor (Andrea) Parker of League City, granddaughter Sarah (Duane) Thompson of Leander, granddaughter Shelby (Tim) Smith of League City, granddaughter Mallory (Michael) Castillo of League City, granddaughter Leah Casteel of Westland, Michigan, granddaughter Katherine (Daniel) Smith of Pearland, granddaughter Abbey (Joshua) Barnett of League City, grandson David Aslan French of Austin, 21 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Edwin Virginius (Martha North) Smith of Auburn, Alabama, sister Julia Frances Smith of Panama City, Florida, sister Myra Belle (George) Jackson of Birmingham, Alabama, sister Marguerite (Thurman) Walker of Pensacola, Florida, sister Susie Carolyn Foster of Ozark, Alabama, brother James Mizell (Dorothea) Smith of Texas, and daughter-in-law Anne Allison Smith of Jasper.
Homer Paul Rutledge Smith, 97, passed away on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at Heartis Assisted Living-Clear Lake. Family and friends will celebrate his life on Saturday, January 30 at 2:00 pm at First Baptist Church, 314 Main Street, Jasper, Texas, with family visitation preceding the service from 1:00 pm to the beginning of the service.
Memorial donation, in lieu of flowers, may be made to First Baptist Church, 314 N. Main, Jasper, Texas 75951.