Phillip Ross Smith died peacefully at age 93 in hospice care on May 23, 2019, in Brandon, Florida. Born in Shreve, Ohio, on April 11, 1926, he was known as Ross his entire life. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Phyllis Margaret Speelman Smith, his parents, Adeline Hughes Smith and Donald Clinton Smith, and two brothers, John "Jack" Smith, and Donald Smith. He grew up in Millersburg, Ohio, and attended schools there. A sportswriter called him "a diminutive but speedy halfback" in a football game where he starred. He entered the U.S. Navy Air Corps and served his country in 1944-45 as Seaman First Class, Combat Aircrewman, in charge of Ordinance.
He and Phyllis were married on 22 August 1946 in Covington, Kentucky, after his discharge from the U.S. Navy, and lived in Columbus, Ohio, while he attended Ohio State University. He studied mathematics and physical education with intent to coach, and earned a B.Ed. His Master's degree, an M.Ed., he earned later from Kent State University.
He leaves to mourn his passing: children: Dr. Rebecca "Becky" Green (Dr. Alan
Green), Deborah Smith, Terry Smith (Jeanne Smith), and grandchildren: Shoshana Green, Zachary Green (Patricia Lomando), Ariella Green, Laura Smith, and Hannah Smith. Also, step granddaughters Erica Green Goodman and Dr. Nieta Green Shapiro, and five step great-grandsons. He is survived by his two sisters, Shirley "Sally" Smith Oare, Virginia "Ginny" Smith Rozsa (Gabe Rozsa); nephews and nieces. Also, his beloved second wife, Shirley Ann Lutz Smith, four step children, Leslie Reuter (Philip Davis), John Reuter (Linda McGill) Alison Reuter McCue (William “Billy” McCue), Andrea Reuter (Ron Loewe); eight step grandchildren, and a step great-granddaughter.
Ross taught mathematics and coached football and baseball at many secondary schools during his career. After his retirement he continued to teach math at colleges in Myrtle Beach and Tampa. He was an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. His longest secondary school tenure of fifteen years was at University School in Shaker Heights, and then Hunting Valley, Ohio, where he was Head of the Mathematics Department, computer specialist, and Head Football coach. During those years, he was chosen Independent Coach of the Year in Ohio four times. The joy of his life was teaching and helping young men and women. He influenced many lives.
He remembered his former students. He had an amazing memory, especially for mathematics and history.
He enjoyed camping and traveling with Phyllis over the years. After his retirement, they settled in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and then Sun City Center, Florida. He stayed in Sun City Center over his most recent 20 years with his devoted second wife, Shirley. They travelled and spent summers in Maine. He loved golf, fishing, and living in the sunshine.
Ross was an affable, honorable man who influenced many lives, who loved life, never met a stranger, and was immensely proud of his children and grandchildren.
He will be buried in the Fryburg Cemetery in Holmes County, Ohio, beside his beloved wife, Phyllis Speelman Smith. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Donations can be made to LifePath Hospice of Tampa (11150 N. 53rd St., Temple Terrace, Florida 33617)