Having a skill was important to Grover Smith. That knowledge may be what inspired him to dedicate more than 35 years of his life to technical and vocational education.
“I think he knew not every student was going to college,” said his daughter, Glenda Woodman of Kennesaw. “I think he found satisfaction in helping many students find jobs.
Smith taught vocational and cooperative education classes in Cobb and DeKalb counties, as well as in Atlanta. He is believed to have been the first director of the Marietta-Cobb Area Vocational-Technical School, now Chattahoochee Technical College, when it was first established in 1961, family members said.
Grover Washington Smith of Kennesaw died Aug. 11 at his DayBreak Village residence from complications of dementia. He was 93.
A funeral was held Tuesday at Carmichael Funeral Home, Marietta, which was also in charge of arrangements. Burial followed the service at Midway Presbyterian Church Cemetery, in the Lost Mountain Community.
An Army veteran, Smith was born in Heard County, but reared on a farm in Crossville, Ala. His father was a farmer and a wood worker. When he left for Berry College right after high school, Smith was the first, and only, of his six siblings to do so, Woodman said. While at Berry, Smith took a wood shop class in that allowed him to work on what eventually became the dining room furniture in the home of Martha Berry, the college founder.
“My mother has seen it and says it is beautiful,” Woodman said.
Smith’s teaching career started right after he earned his degree in agriculture, said his wife of 67 years, Mary Glenn Floyd Smith. He took a break from teaching and sold fertilizer three or four years before, taking another teaching job at Clarkston High School. While teaching there he used weekends to earn a master’s degree in education from the University of Georgia, his wife and daughter said.
After teaching cooperative education classes at several schools, including Sprayberry High in Cobb County, Smith was named director of the new vocational college, which was established through the joint efforts of the Cobb County Board of Education, the Marietta City Board of Education, and the Georgia Department of Education, according to school history.
He stayed at the school for three years, his wife said, before going back to the high school classroom. He ultimately retired from Sprayberry High School in 1981.
Smith’s wife agreed with her daughter, her husband enjoyed helping young people find employment.
“I truly think he did,” she said.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Smith is survived by three grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.
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