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Loss of Smith will be hard to replace

When I saw the photo of Dave Smith on the computer screen, there was a cringe in my thought process. My initial reaction was Dave Smith had died.

Unfortunately, I was right.

After 89 years as one of the top sports figures in Lawrence County, Father Time had taken a true treasure.

Dave Smith built the first Chesapeake track — literally — as well as the track program.

He made an even bigger contribution when he and the late James “Red” Dutey of Coal Grove got together and created the Ohio Valley Conference back in 1954.

But there was more to Dave Smith than just building. He was a molder.

It was Smith who helped mold some of the area’s top track coaches and officials. Smith, Bob Harris and Bob Cook are the three most notable and knowledgeable track coa ches and officials ever produced, and I’m not just talking about in Lawrence County.

Besides coaching football and track, Smith was a track official and was a constant figure as the meet’s starter.

Despite all his accomplishments and contributions, there was more to Dave Smith.

He had a friendly voice and he talked to you, not down at you. His only thoughts were to help anyone in any way he possibly could.

He was a true gentleman and extremely humble. Since he was human, I know he had to get angry or upset and show his temper, and he certainly had to raise his voice at some point.

But in the 30-some years I knew him, I never heard that side of him.

Any time you lose a person like Dave Smith, it is difficult to replace him.

And in the case of Dave Smith, I doubt we’ll ever replace him.

-- Sinatra --

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.