City mourns longtime physician

Published 12:27 pm Monday, April 2, 2007

By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
The Brewton area has lost one of its most loved physicians with the death of Dr. Robert Russell Smith.
Dr. Smith died on Wednesday, March 28, after an extended illness. He was a native of Brewton and chose to return to set up his practice here in 1965.
Smith was born in 1932 in Brewton and attended the Brewton City School System. He was a 1954 graduate of the University of Alabama with a bachelor's degree and a 1958 graduate of Medical College of Alabama receiving his medical degree. He served his internship at Denver General Hospital in Denver, 1958-59. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1959-1961, training in obstetrics and gynecology and was the base OB-GYN physician at Greenville Air Force Base in Greenville, Miss. He returned to Medical College of Alabama in Birmingham from 1961 to 1965 and with a general surgery residency.
He chose to return to Brewton in 1965 to open his own surgery practice and continued until his retirement in 1996.
Smith was certified by the American Board of Surgery and was a Fellow of American College of Surgeons.
He was a member of the Medical Association in the State of Alabama, American Medical Association, Southern Medical Association, Escambia Medical Society and First Presbyterian Church.
He served as Chief of Staff of D.W. McMillan Hospital, president of Alabama Chapter American College of Surgeons, Director of Bank of Brewton and served on the Escambia County Hospital Board.
Smith is survived by his wife, Beverly Gail Owens Smith of Brewton; six children, Follin Smith (John) Gerdy of Conestoga, Penn., Leigh (Brent) Faircloth of Mobile, Russell (Margaret Ann) Smith and Traci (Jim) Hughes, both of Brewton, Kate (Joe) Lavelle of Boston, Mass., and Mary Margaret (David) Stephenson of Birmingham; a brother, James F. Smith Jr. of Montgomery, and 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; James F. and Minnie Smith.
Funeral services were held Friday, March 30, at 10:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Brewton with the Rev. John Matheiu and the Rev. John Finklea officiating.
Burial followed at Union Cemetery with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Palmer Home for Children, P.O. Box 748, Columbus, Miss. 39703; Big Oak Ranch, P.O. Box 507, Springville, Ala. 35146; or American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Brewton.

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