I am the third generation of physicians practicing in Franklin County. My grandfather moved to Decherd from Delina, Tennessee after graduating from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1899. Two of his sons, George Lafayette Smith (my father) and Alfred Parker Smith became physicians. They practiced out of Smith Memorial hospital before the local county hospital was built. My brother George L. Smith also became a physician, practicing as a cardiologist. But it was not until I took organic chemistry at the University of the South that I decided that I also wanted to become a doctor.
I was born and raised in Winchester. My very typical childhood included many friends, school at Clark Memorial, scouting with Scoutmaster Buck Fowlkes and football at Sewanee Military Academy. After a year at Vanderbilt University, where I met my wife Suzanne, I transferred to the University of the South.
I did not attend medical school right away. Instead, I became a toxicologist, and eventually chief toxicologist, for East Tennessee. There I analyzed samples for drugs and chemical composition in connection with law enforcement cases. One of my bosses was Jerry Francisco M.D. (who assisted at the autopsy of Elvis Presley.) He helped my efforts to become accepted into medical School. As a medical student, I earned extra income working in the morgue. I also received a Rotary Club sponsored hospital scholarship with a three-year payback clause. A highlight of my medical training was a 14 week stay with my George L. Smith, Jr. M.D. where I learned a great deal about both cardiology and California wines.
Although I loved my work at the morgue in Memphis, I ultimately decided I wanted to work with living patients instead of dead ones. After a Family Practice Residency in Chattanooga, I returned to fulfill the terms of my Rotary scholarship. Along the way, Suzy and I had three healthy children, Tommy, Teddy Anne and Lexie. Lexie was actually delivered by one of my fellow residents in Family Medicine at Erlanger. My father was deceased by this time and my mother Teddy Smith, was living alone in Winchester We moved in next door to her and my children loved being able to walk to Granny’s.
I had a successful family Medicine Practice in Winchester, where many of my patients also became my friends. I still visit with them when I see them on the street.
I can proudly say that my family are real Tennessee VOLUNTEERS. I joined Rotary as a member in 1978. When the High on the Hog was dropped by Rotary, I was chairman for 2 years until it was thankfully taken over by the Kiwanis Club. I had an idea for a community playground and found Wendy Moore and Dawn Crossno to spearhead the Adventure Mountain Playground. The WHOLE community pitched in to build this wonderful asset which is still being maintained by the City of Winchester. I received the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 1988 for this effort but it really belonged two those two formidable women. Dr. Richard Bagby and I were team physicians for the Franklin Rebel football team for 12 years. We still chuckle at the memories of mothers jumping the fence and running into the field when their 220lb baby was injured during a gam
I am currently retired, but maintain an active schedule. When I am not traveling, hiking with my dog Daisy, or visiting my grandchildren, I remain on the PEN foundation board, direct the volunteer medical clinic for the uninsured and unemployed and am vice-president of Faith Lutheran Church in Tullahoma.