I was born January 5, 1949 in Temple, TX to Inez H. Meyer and Barney B. Smith, Jr. My first educational memory was going to speech therapy at Reagan Elementary and being taught how to properly say “R’s” and “S’s.” I remember my mother helping me study while my brother and friends were playing outside. As I sat there crying about not being able to play too, my mother cried with me. Dyslexia was hard on both my parents and me.
In the 50’s our family moved to Midland. I played both football and baseball through school. Dad worked for the newspaper and Mom worked for Southern Maid Donuts. I graduated from Robert E. Lee (Midland) in 1967 as an average student because I focused the majority of my attention on sports rather than my studies.
I wanted to play more football, but I was told I was too small to play in college, so Dad and I started driving east on interstate 20 stopping at Ranger, Cisco and Tyler Junior College asking for “just a chance to try out” for their team. Only T.J.C. had open tryouts. Even though I was not over 6’, Coach Hallmark and Coach Speirs found something they liked, and I made the team of 33 players. With so few players, and so many injuries, I was able to play both offensive and defensive guard by the end of the season. A big thanks goes out to our trainer, James Sublette, for keeping us taped together that year! In 1968 I was named one of the team’s tri-captains.
My education at T.J.C. was first class, as I was blessed to have teachers who cared and guided me through my studies which prepared me for what was to come in my college career. While at T.J.C. I met Rebecca Ann Montgomery, a freshman Apache Belle from Garland, TX. She captured my heart and I knew I had met the one I was meant to share the rest of my life with.
I continued my education at Texas A&M to become a “Vet.” However, my experience in animal science 101 quickly changed my mind. God bless our ranchers and farmers! They have a tough life providing food and resources to the rest of us. Every college student should have to take animal science 101 at some point during their education to really appreciate how difficult their job really is and how it truly is a labor of love.
1970 was a busy year to say the least. I was accepted into the College of Optometry at the University of Houston, I married Rebecca Ann, and one week after our wedding I started working towards my Doctor of Optometry degree. Having battled dyslexia my entire life I decided to specialize in child development and therapy. When I graduated in 1974, I started my career in Garland, TX. That same year we were blessed with our first born, Neal.
1976 brought even more changes to our small family. We decided to move back to Tyler to start my own practice, and we welcomed our first daughter Ashley into the world. I also started teaching part time at T.J.C. in the ophthalmic assistant program. I found a lot of joy in teaching, especially when I got to see “the lights come on” in their eyes. T.J.C. had given me so much and prepared me for so many areas of my life that it felt nice to be able to give back. My thanks go out to Mr. Davenport and Dean Minter for making my years at T.J.C. enjoyable.
Tyler has brought many blessing in both my career and in my family. Between 1979 and 1986 Rebecca and I completed our family by adding three more daughters; Courtney, Whitney and Lindsey. With a full home and an optometric practice, life kept me busy.
In 1991 I received an advanced certificate as a therapeutic optometrist. This certification allows optometrists in Texas the use of topical drugs for treating diseases as well as performing other minor procedures.
As my children grew I coached many of their athletic teams. In 1995 the Tyler Cougars girl’s softball team won the Texas State Championship. In 1997 and 1998 I coached Tyler’s “Big Red” girl’s basketball team. They ended their season as the Dallas-Fort Worth AAU Champions. Thank you to Robert Hindman for allowing me to coach such wonderful girls! I am also very grateful to Jeff Smith of Grace Community Schools for the opportunity to coach the 7th and 8th grade basketball teams. We had some great seasons and I was blessed to be a part of them.
With a growing practice in 2000, Dr. Garold Timmons joined us and we worked together until his semi-retirement in 2010. Dr. Timmons was a wonderful addition and is greatly missed.
As of 2012 I am once again a solo practitioner, and with the Lords grace, I hope to continue doing what I love… providing East Texans with great eye care. I look forward to “seeing” y’all soon!!!