Gene Clark Smelser, age 82, of The Villages, FL passed away on Friday, May 10, 2019. He was born in Knoxville, TN on March 23, 1937 to George and Fannie Smelser.
Gene went to Central High School in Knoxville, served in the Army and later received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. He worked for 36 years in the chemical industry, retiring from BASF after 30 years. Gene’s career included positions in Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and New York.
Retiring in the Villages kept Gene busier than ever pursing the activities he loved. As a master gardener his yard was twice recognized as “Yard of the Month”. Gene helped in the creation of the Orchid Club (North) in the Villages and stunned everyone with the wide variety of orchids he raised. He also helped start the men’s basketball group and his 3 on 3 team won a medal in the Florida State Senior Olympic Games. He was an avid University of Tennessee sports fan. Combining his love of golf and math he was a charter member of the Guys and Dolls III golf group, and their scorekeeper for 20 years. He had 5 hole-in-ones! He also was a tournament champion in scrabble, collected stamps and traveled extensively.
Gene is survived by his wife Marty, daughter Jeana of Michigan, step-children Fran Mullin of Maine, Beth (Don) Daugherty of Florida and Christopher (Lisa) Mullin of New York. He is also survived by 4 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Reba, brother Dale, and step-son George Mullin.
A celebration of life will take place at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home, 1511 Buenos Aires Blvd, The Villages, FL on Sunday May 19, 2019 at 3PM. His remains will be laid to rest at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to Gene’s favorite charity to benefit engineering students: University of Tennessee Foundation Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering Fund.