© Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home
Submitted by: T.D.
Willard Wesley Smithart Jr. passed away Friday, December 5, 2014, at the age of 84. He was born on December 7, 1929, in Caddo, Oklahoma, to Willard Wesley Smithart and Thelma Ruth (Kimbrough) Smithart.
He was an All-State basketball player at Tushka, Oklahoma, High School and led his team to a state championship in 1948. He served a tour of duty in Korea with the Army’s 45th Division, coached basketball at Atoka for a dozen years with six of his teams reaching the state tournament. At Atoka, he also coached football and baseball and served as junior high principal.
He was recruited to play basketball at Southeastern by Hall of Fame coach Bloomer Sullivan, receiving a half-scholarship worth $12.50 per month.
Wesley started officiating basketball in 1949 and retired after a 50-year career that was really 51 years. The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association started keeping records a year after he started and he wasn’t credited with his first year.
He called many games where the players had parents in the stands who had been coached by Smithart.
The first game of his final year of officiating basketball was at Achille High School and principal Rip Tidwell presented a plaque from the Bryan County Coaches Association in appreciation of his many years with the whistle and striped shirt. He called that game with Kyle Stafford, one of many young officials Wesley worked with to get them started.
Wesley officiated 12 state basketball tournaments and 34 football playoffs in an outstanding career. You would really have to search to find anyone with bad thing to say about Wesley Smithart.
He is a member of the Bryan County Athletics Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Officials Association Hall of Fame, high praise indeed for the guy blowing the whistle and pointing the finger.
Wesley officiated in the old Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference, where he also served as commissioner. He was presented an achievement award by the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials Association at St. Louis in 1993. Smithart never quit coaching. As an official, he could be heard at times telling county players they couldn’t do what they were doing.
He was the mentor of numerous young officials and always had time to help. He was the first official to volunteer to work the Bryan County Basketball Games free of charge.
Wesley was well-known for his officiating and almost as well-known for his ownership of Durant’s Big ‘O’ Donut, a gathering place for many years for those who knew exactly what waswrong with the world – and what it would take to fix it.
After his retirement from everything except officiating, he agreed to coach Southeaster’s fastpitch softball team, a sport he had never coached. That team posted a 37-23 record, the first winning season for Southeastern softball. His team missed the national playoffs by one game.
Wesley was an administrator/coach at a couple of county high schools and also served as athletics director at Durant High School.
He is survived by his wife, Marcia K. Mizell Smithart, son Patrick Shawn Parr, wife Leslie and daughter Stephanie Dawn Rogers and husband Corian; and his sister, Margaret Young and uncle Jake Kimbrough, also many nieces and nephews. Also grandchildren Kourtnee Smithart, Brittnee Smith, Collin J. Parr and Catelin Wesli Parr (named after her grandpa), along with step-grandchildren Alyson, Lavery, Daniel and Conner and great-granddaughters Zayria Jones, Averee Traylor and McKenzee Johnson.
He was preceded in death by sisters, Iwana Hebbletwaite and Pasty Bendham, brother Donald J. Smithart, daughter Pamela D. Smithart, daughter of Dorothy Smithart and both sets of grandparents.
A special thanks for the caregivers of Guardian Hospice, especially Denise Chandler, Christy Vaughan and Tracie Phillips.
Wesley was a member and deacon in Durant’s First Baptist Church. Pastor James Robinson will perform the services. Wesley will be buried at Highland Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be John Caraway, Darrell Cochran, Byron Cordell, Keith Baxter, Lester Berryhill, Charles McCall, Morris Cochran and Clifford McDonald.
Honorary pallbearers will be John Massey, Nick Keith, Cecil Devine, Harold Harmon, Ken Drummonds, Clyde Smith, Jarvis Dobbs, Duane Merideth, Mike Metheny, Ronnie Cochran, Clifford Brown, Scott Willman, Gary Dominck and John Wilmoth.
Services are under the direction of Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home. Family night will from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, December 9, at the funeral home.
A celebration of Wesley’s life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, December 10, at the First Baptist Church of Durant.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Southeastern Athletics via the Southeastern Foundation, 1405 N. 4th Ave., Durant, OK 74701-0609 Donations may also be given to the First Baptist Church Durant.
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