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Funeral held for former Lenoir County Sheriff "Billy" Smith

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Mar 20 2014 09:26:44 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2014 07:30:59 PM CDT

Current Sheriff Chris Hill said Smith had been suffering from a long illness.

LENOIR COUNTY -

The funeral for former Lenoir County Sheriff W.E. "Billy" Smith was held early Saturday afternoon at the Deep Run Free Will Baptist Church.

Smith passed away on Thursday after fighting a battle with cancer.

Smith stepped down from his spot as the Lenoir County Sheriff in March 2013, after serving in that position for over 20 years.

It was a packed room inside the funeral, as family members, Lenoir County Deputies and friends of Smith came to pay their respects.

Those who knew Smith well, like his friend Benny Davis, said Smith will be missed greatly and remembered as a great man.

"He was a law enforcement man that was for the law and wanted everything done right," Davis said. "He was a sweet and kind person, who treated rich, poor, black, white everybody the same."

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A visitation is set to take place Friday night for former Lenoir County Sheriff W.E. "Billy" Smith, who passed away Thursday after a battle with cancer.

Smith's visitation is set to be held from 5 p.m.  to 9 p.m. Friday at the Howard-Carter Funeral Home at 1608 W. Vernon Ave. in Kinston.

His funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Deep Run Free Will Baptist Church.

Current Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill told NewsChannel 12 Smith died at the Kitty Askin's Hospice Center in Goldsboro Thursday morning. He was 63 years old.

Close friend Darrell Thigpen said Smith was battling lung and liver cancer.

Smith retired as the Lenoir County sheriff on March 31, 2013. The Democrat had been in office since 1989. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter, as well as his grandson.

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Former longtime Lenoir County Sheriff W.E. "Billy" Smith has passed away.

Current Sheriff Chris Hill told NewsChannel 12 he was informed by Smith's family that Smith died at the Kitty Askin's Hospice Center in Goldsboro Thursday morning.

Close friend Darrell Thigpen said Smith was battling cancer.

"He'd been sick for about three of four weeks now. They found out he had lung and liver cancer," Thigpen said. “He told me when I went to the hospital, he said, 'I’m fighting something I can't see,' and I won't ever forget it.”

"...Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of a man that has meant so much to so many people," Sheriff Hill said of Smith on Facebook.

Smith retired as the Lenoir County sheriff on March 31, 2013. The Democrat had been in office since 1989. In fact, Smith had served in law enforcement for more than 40 years, said Hill.

"He's almost like a son of Lenoir County. When you hear the name 'Billy Smith,' you get good thoughts about a person who is a church-going man, a family man who was an awesome sheriff,” Hill said.

Thigpen is remembering Smith as a hard worker, a man who loved his family and the Lord.

"Mr. Billy had been good to this county for a long time. It’s going to be a big difference,” said Thigpen.

The Lenoir County Jail was recently named as the Billy Smith Detention Center.

Smith's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Deep Run Free Will Baptist Church in Kinston. Smith is survived by his wife, a son and daughter, as well as his grandson.