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Thomas Benjamin Smith

November 23, 1947 May 18, 2020
Thomas Benjamin Smith
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Obituary for Thomas Benjamin Smith

Thomas Benjamin Smith passed away at his home in Quincy on May 18, 2020. He was born on November 23, 1947, to Thomas William and Lota Griffith Smith.

Tommy lived nearly all of his life in the family home his parents built on the Greensboro Highway. He graduated from Quincy High School and Georgia Southwestern University, and he served as a regional vice president for the Florida chapter of Future Farmers of America. Tommy’s love of music began in high school, where he played the drums in the school marching band and with friends as The Medallions and Mama’s Little Children. In his later years, he sang in the choir at Greensboro Baptist Church.

Tommy had a lifelong passion for the lake and the beach. As a younger man, he was an avid waterskier. He enjoyed fishing at his farm and on Lake Talquin, and he spent some of his final days enjoying the view of his beloved Panama City Beach with his daughters.

Professionally, Tommy followed his father’s footsteps into farming, but he carved his own path as an award-winning grower of corn and soybeans. In the mid-1980s, he started the tomato farm that became the center of his life and his legacy.

His active engagement with statewide and national agriculture and vegetable industry associations helped him pioneer the cultivation of vine-ripened tomatoes in Gadsden County. Tommy prided himself on leaving his tomatoes on the vine until they had begun to obtain natural color, which he believed helped to develop a superior flavor. Each summer, truckloads of his tomatoes rolled out of his farm on Greensboro’s Flat Creek Road and headed to wholesale vegetable markets across the nation.

In 1975, Tommy and his family were recognized as the state of Florida’s Outstanding Young Farm Family by the Florida Farm Bureau. In 1991, he was named Outstanding Agriculturalist by the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Tommy is survived by his daughters, Leigh Ann Merchant (and husband Rajan) and Lynsley Snipes Smith, both of Charlotte, NC; partner, Lee Ann Walsh; two sisters, Tillie Smith Tice of Charlotte and Judith Smith Maxwell (and husband Jerry) of Bainbridge; and six nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; his wives, Cheryl Snipes Smith and Annie Laura Pickron Smith; and his sister, Sandra Smith Higdon. A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Quincy.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Robert F. Munroe Day School (91 Old Mt. Pleasant Rd Quincy, FL 32352) or the Thomas B. Smith Fund at Greensboro Baptist Church (P.O. Box 100, Greensboro, FL 32330), which helps those with urgent financial needs.

Charles McClellan Funeral Home, 15 S. Jackson St., Quincy, FL., 850-627-7677, is in charge of arrangements.

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