Robert Donovan Smith, 78, died Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Bob was born on March 19, 1942, in Owensboro to the late Bernard Joseph Smith Sr. and Marietta Donovan Smith. He attended Owensboro Catholic High School before graduating from Owensboro High School in 1960. He attended Rockhurst College and Brescia College before earning a degree in education from Western Kentucky University, where he was a member of the tennis team. He also attended the Peabody College of Education and Personal Development at Vanderbilt University and Arkansas State University, where he served as the men’s tennis coach.
Bob was a lifelong educator, teaching math for many years at Foust Junior High School and Apollo High School, and also served as Apollo’s assistant principal, tennis coach and athletic director. He later joined the DCPS Central Office, overseeing curriculum for secondary education until his retirement in 1997. In addition, he taught at Owensboro Community College and tutored hundreds of Owensboro kids in math and ACT/SAT prep.
Bob was the longtime tennis pro at Owensboro Country Club and was active in the Owensboro and Kentucky tennis communities throughout his life. He was also a member of First Presbyterian Church and the Owensboro Ballroom Dance Club.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Stephanie Smith, in 1992; and his beloved aunt, Marjorie Cirrincone, in 2013.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Jane Baize Townsend Smith; his daughter, Debbie Smith Hill (Dave) of Brentwood, Tennessee; his stepson, Landy Townsend (Allie) of Wake Forest, North Carolina; his stepdaughter, Laurie Townsend Burt (Gerald) of Bowling Green; his brother, Bernard J. Smith Jr. of Homestead, Florida; his seven grandchildren, Drew Hill (Katy) and Samantha Hill (Trae Primrose) of Nashville, Tennessee; John Townsend, Ben Townsend and Will Townsend of Wake Forest, North Carolina; and Luke Idlett and Jackson Idlett of Bowling Green; and great-granddaughter Aspen Hill.
Bob’s greatest source of pride was his family, and he was devoted to his daughters, Debbie and Stephanie. In the 1970s and 80s, he became a staunch advocate for Stephanie and other children with special needs. He enjoyed watching Laurie play basketball at Apollo and later for Western Kentucky University. He watched all seven of his grandchildren participate in numerous sporting events. Later in life, he loved spending time in the warm Florida sunshine each winter as he and Jane traveled across the state to visit longtime friends and play tennis.
A celebration of life will be 3 p.m. Sunday, July 11, at Apollo High School Gymnasium, 2280 Tamarack Road, Owensboro. Visitation will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 11, at the high school.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Bob’s memory to the Wendell Foster Center 815 Triplett Street, Owensboro, KY 42303, the Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center, 3101 Poplarwood Court, Suite. 100, Raleigh, NC 27604 or the Miracle League of the Triangle, P.O. Box 4193, Cary, NC 27519.