Funeral Services will be held Saturday, January 27, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at Ibert’s Mortuary in Franklin for Byron Phillip Smathers, Sr., who passed away at the age of 92 on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at his daughter’s home in Satellite Beach, FL. He will be laid to rest in the Franklin Cemetery. Rev. Dr. Chris Holloway will conduct the services. A gathering of family and friends will be held at Ibert’s on Friday from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and again Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
Byron is survived by his daughter, Catherine S. Mire and her husband Ted J. Mire, Jr.; his sister, Jane Hindman; his grandchildren, Michael A. “Mike” Smathers, Sr. and his wife Jennifer, Linda L. Smathers, Brian K. Gautreaux and his wife Jean, Logan P. Mire, Andrea D. Smathers, and Ashley S. Uze and her husband Charles. He also knew the joy of four great-grandsons, Michael A. Smathers, Jr., Connor A. Simoneaux, Collin D. Simoneaux and Cooper A. Uze; as well as numerous nieces and nephews who held a special place in his heart. His dog Rex was his faithful companion.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Lorene W. Smathers; his three sons, Byron P. “Phil” Smathers, Jr., Michael E. “Mickey” Smathers, and Daniel W. ”Danny” Smathers; his brother Horace Smathers; and his parents, James and Cora Smathers.
Byron was born on September 22, 1925 in Limestone, Pennsylvania and at the age of 17, enlisted in the United States Navy during WWII. He completed Radio Training for both the Navy and the United States Army which qualified him to be a Beach Master Radio Operator. He obtained the rank of Radioman 3rd Class. He participated in numerous actions and landings on Japanese held islands. He was a Life Member of both the American Legion and the VFW.
Mr. Smathers was a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelors Degree in Education and held a Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. A flip of a coin between two job opportunities sent him to Dallas, Texas to begin his career as a carpet and drapery buyer for a major store of the time. Subsequent opportunities led him to Shreveport and New Orleans before moving to Franklin, LA in 1974. Mr. Smathers was a 32 year resident of Franklin, where he and his wife owned and operated the Montgomery Ward Catalog Stores in Franklin and Morgan City, Acadia Rent All, Budget Furniture, and The Drink Factory. They also owned and managed numerous residential and commercial properties. In 2006, he and his wife moved to Melbourne, Florida where he finally retired.
Byron’s love for playing pool and teaching others the strategies of the game brought him much joy and his family much pride. After 73 years of playing pool, in 2010, his dream of making it to Las Vegas to play in the APA National Championship Tournament came true! At the Local Team Championships, Byron’s winning match was the one that secured his team, Killin’ Time’s, spot in Vegas. At 84 years old, he was the oldest player competing in the National Championship competition.
He enjoyed sharing his knowledge of business with all who wanted to learn and was a mentor to many. His patience, work ethic, and dedication to providing a secure life for his family kept him young.
Byron’s greatest love was for his family. When he and his wife lost their sons, his strength through heartbreak set an example for the family on how to persevere. He treasured his close, loving relationship with each of them. The family plans to continue living their lives based on the example that he set until they are reunited once again in Heaven.
Family and friends may view the obituary and express their condolences online by visiting www.iberts.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ibert’s Mortuary, Inc., 1007 Main Street, Franklin, LA 70538, (337) 828-5426.