ABOVE: Former Missouri City Councilmember and Founder of Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation Don Smith
Former Missouri City Councilmember and Founder of Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, Don Smith, was laid to rest on Saturday, October 29th at First United Methodist Church in Missouri City, TX.
Don passed away on October 19th after battling a major health challenge.
Donald Ray Smith, Sr. was born in Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas, on November 14, 1942, to Bishop Fred Douglas Smith of the Southern Conference Church of God in Christ and Doretha Smith. He accepted Christ at an early age in his father’s church. In 2004, he became a member of Covenant Glen United Methodist Church under the spiritual guidance of Pastor Robert Childress.
Don was proud to have attended the prestigious Phyllis Wheatley Senior High School in Houston, TX, where he graduated in 1960. Don was drafted into the United States Air Force in 1961, where he faithfully served his country during the Vietnam War. After his honorable serve, he attended Texas Southern University and University of Houston. While attending TSU, he was a member of the Fighting Tigers Football team. Later he joined the practice squad for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Don’s professional life was a testament to a pioneering mindset and perseverance over adversity. He held several jobs before becoming a sales representative for Sun Life of Canada Insurance Company. Later, he became a sales representative with Pitney Bowes, Inc., a fortune 300 company, where he became National VP of Mail Shipping Solutions, Area District Director of San Jose, California; District Director of St. Louis Missouri, and set several sales records. He retired from Pitney Bowes as the Southwestern Divisional Marketing Director after 23 years of service.
After retiring, Don turned his attention to his family and community service. Don was a faithful homeowner in Hunters Glen III for over 43 years. He served as Board Chair of the Hunters Glen III Homeowners’ Association for several terms and served in many other capacities during his involvement. While laudable, he ultimately aimed to broaden his scope.
Don served thirteen years as the Missouri City Council Member for District B and as Mayor Pro Tem. As a council member, his first initiative was a citywide smoking ban; which failed, but was later passed when he returned for re-election.
Much of what Don envisioned for renovation and improvements along the Texas Parkway Corridor has become reality. He played key roles in Council’s decisions to locate the Houston Community College campus on Texas Parkway and to establish transportation on major thoroughfares from Missouri City proper to HCC and key shopping locales around Fort Bend County. Smith continued to work in support of Missouri City until the time of his passing.
As a civil servant for Missouri City, Don Smith’s accomplishments include:
- Founder of the Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, which has awarded about $200,000 in scholarships to deserving students in Fort Bend County. This 20-year-old annual celebration has attracted national attention to Missouri City
- Initiator of the proposal for a city-wide smoking ban in Missouri City
- Lead negotiator and visionary for the development of the Hunters Glen Park site
- Lead negotiator on the project to locate Houston Community College on Texas Parkway
- Organizer of the original Texas Parkway Alliance
- Initiator of the effort to increase the presence of African Americans on City Hall staff
- Driving force for Hunters Square shopping center revitalization
- Initiator of the effort to establish a Police Annex on Texas Parkway
- Visionary for the Veterans Memorial Project at City Hall
- Visionary and lead negotiator for the installation of Bike Path throughout Missouri City
- Major contributor and founder of the Brazos River Bike Rally
He is preceded in death by his parents, Doretha and Fred D. Smith; his brothers, Fred, Jr., John, and Jimmy; his sisters, Azalee Stevenson and Vera Smith, and his son, Reginald Hackett.
In maintenance of his legacy of excellence, he leaves, his wife, Louis Etta Smith; their children Raymond Rasch, Brian Mealy, Donald Smith Jr., Inger Smith, Charles Caldwell II, and Garric Smith; his grandchildren Thomas Presto, Benjamin Rasch, Christin Caldwell, Camille Caldwell, Emily Rasch, Carmen Rasch, Donielle Smith, and Aisha Smith; his great-grandchildren, Leo Michael Strom, Benjamin Rasch II, Sophia Rasch, and Charles K. Caldwell; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives.