Businessman, Deacon Sanford Eugene Smith Sr. dies

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Staff Report

Businessman and Deacon Sanford Eugene Smith Sr., owner of Smith Florist on Broad Street, died Friday, June 29 at Vaughan Regional Medical Center.

Fifty-one years ago, Smith and his wife, Ernestine Shorts Smith, opened Smith Florist, now one of the oldest black-owned businesses in Selma. The Smiths served as a husband and wife business team until Ernestine’s death in 2002. Smith and his daughter, Pastor Tonya Smith Chestnut, continued the family business.

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Family visitation will be held on Thursday, July 5 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Lewis Brothers Funeral Home.

Smith’s funeral service is set for Friday, July 6 at 12:30 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church with the Rev. Dr. F.D. Reese Sr. officiating. Pastor Tonya Smith Chestnut will provide the eulogy and Pastor Coley Chestnut Sr. will provide a tribute and words of comfort.

Burial will be at the Smith Family Cemetery in Orrville.

Smith’s wife, Ernestine Shorts Smith, and parents, Henry Daniel and Rebecca Jean Smith preceded him in death.

Smith is survived by his daughters, Pastor Tonya Smith Chestnut and Wanda Smith Strong; son-in-law, Pastor Coley C Chestnut Sr.; four grandchildren, Tamela Chestnut, Coleysia Chestnut, Coley C. Chestnut II and Whitney Nikki Strong; siblings, Theresa Smith Murry of Tyler, Texas, Etta Smith (James) Perkins Sr. of Selma, Thelma Jean Smith of Chicago, Ill., Harriet Smith Nellum of Lawton, Okla., Robert (Charles Alice) Smith) of San Diego, Calif., Alice Smith (Johnny) Martin of Arlington, Texas; two sisters-in-law, Lula Chandler of Detroit, Mich., and Ollie Hollifield of Bessemer; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.