William Charles Smith, Jr. was born February 1, 1949 in Galveston Texas at St. Mary’s Hospital to William Charles Smith, Sr. and Marie Amelia Bertolino. He left this world on January 2, 2018, just weeks before his 69th birthday.
Willie, was a passionate fisherman for life. In fact it was his desire that his ashes be scattered off the Galveston 10th Street Pier.
In his childhood days he grew up and was close to numerous cousins of the Bertolino clan. He was especially close to his cousin, Gary Wilson. The corner of 10th and Ave. M was the stomping grounds for all the cousins and only a block away from the 10th St. Pier. His Grandfather, Charles Bertolino was a well know fisherman and lifeguard in Galveston.
William played the trumpet in Junior High and Ball High School. In fact, he won many gold medals in state and national competitions. He continued to play for many years in numerous bands, (i.e. Freddy G and the Flamingos, Little Joe at the Moody Center and others). Some say his trumpet playing achieved the skill level of Doc Severesen of the Johnny Carson show. He especially loved playing his trumpet in St. Luke’s Church for many years. Later in his life William also played acoustic guitar, in smaller church/sermon settings in Houston area.
His exciting dancing style drew a circle of people cheering and watching in him in awe. He had great rhythm and moves, like his mother, Marie Bertolino Smith.
William attended Sam Houston State and Lamar Tech graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in math. His parents were elated with this great accomplishment.
After graduation, Willie took over his father’s business, W.C. Smith Contracting and Painting for many years. His professional skills brought him far in the Contracting and Painting business with extensive contracts at many banks, the Sharpstown Mall in Houston as well as Marine and Shipyards for sandblasting and water-blasting massive sized ships. He was extremely creative with specialized painting skills and murals; a master painter.
For a few years, Willy taught math at Ball High School and in Houston which brought William much laughter and joy. He always loved kids of all ages and was a big kid himself at times.
Willie’s passion for board games came from his Dad, William Sr. He especially loved Scrabble (he carried his Scrabble Dictionary everywhere) and Pente. He also mastered Chess at an early age and played for the rest of his life. In fact he played computer chess on a tablet until his passing. He went through two electronic tablets and carried them everywhere to play chess.
He experienced working and traveling to many states in the United States, including Washington, Oregon, California, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and others.
Having a stroke in 2012 only slowed Willie down for a short period. He convalesced and healed in Arizona with his brother Newell and sister Irin by his side.
He spent his last years in his beloved RV on the lake in Willis, Texas. He fished almost daily, even in stormy weather.
William was preceded in death by his parents, William Smith and Marie Bertolino. Surviving him is the mother of his children, Carrie Smith Melchor and their son, David Smith (Amy Gardner) (Houston area) and Grandchildren, Tucker, Savannah, Levi and William Cade Smith; and daughter, Carrie Smith (Houston) (Dustin Parrish); and grandchildren, Aaron and Hannah. His heart was filled with much pride and love for his children and grandchildren. They were the light of his life.
Also surviving William are his sister Irin Smith and her son, Gary Larson (William’s God-son) and his younger brother, Newell Smith (all in Arizona). He visited them 2-3 times a year in Phoenix for 1-2months at a time. They spoke on the phone almost daily.
William Smith, Jr. will be missed, by all who knew and loved him.
Ashes to be scattered on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at 10th St. Pier. Followed by a celebration of his life at the Lighthouse Charity Operations Center 6918 Broadway Galveston at noon.