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Ernest's Story

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Ernest Ray Smith, 85, of Corbin, formerly of Evarts, passed away Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, at Baptist Health Corbin.
Born Nov. 30, 1930 in Winchester, he moved to Evarts when he was five years old. He graduated from Evarts High School, then attended U.K., Union College and Eastern State University. where he received his Rank I in education. Ernest Ray taught for 10 years at Black Mountain, Ages and Shields, served as principal of the Evarts Elementary School for 23 years, and worked as the Director of the High School Youth Service Center for 10 years. In 2004, Ernest Ray and his wife moved to Corbin to be closer to his daughters, but he continued to call Evarts his home.
He was an active member of the Harlan County Soil Conservation District for 30 years, during which time he served as Chairman of the Board and President. He was the former Chairman of the Cumberland Valley Rural Community and Development Council. He was also a Kentucky Colonel, a member of the Yocum Masonic Lodge N0. 897 and a Shriner. Ernest Ray was very active in the community, where he served as Past President of the Harlan Co. Education Association, the Harlan County Scholarship Committee, and the Harlan Co. Community Action Agency. He was awarded a Citation of Appreciation from the House of Representatives.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 59 years and the love of his life, Jeannette Bunch Smith; parents, John L. Smith and Mamie May Smith; and two sons, Paul Alan Smith and Chandler Ray Smith.
Survivors include three daughters, Melinda Hicks and husband, Hershel; Paula Stephens and husband, David; and Marilyn Smith Ellenburg, all of Corbin; and one brother, John H. Smith and wife, Pat, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Also surviving are his grandchildren, Kevin and Christina Hicks, Corbin; Michelle and Scott Russell, Barbourville; Rebecca Gardner, Blackshear, GA; Amanda Wyatt, Corbin; Paul Jordan and Jordy Ellenburg, Lexington; and Candi Christian, Knoxville, TN; 13 great-grandchildren, Logan, Connor and Cole Hicks; Meredith, Makenna and Madalyn Russell; Nicholas and Luke Gardner; Hannah Pickard; Layla, Ashley and Emily Wyatt; soon-to-be born, Lincoln Ray Ellenburg; and a host of nieces, nephews, other family and friends.
Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Sunday at the Evarts Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in the chapel of the Evarts Funeral Home with the Rev. Vernon Morris and the Rev. Dennis Chesnut officiating.
Burial will follow in the Resthaven Cemetery at Keith with Masonic Last Rites to be performed. His grandsons and sons-in-law will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be former teachers and friends at Evarts Elementary School.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.evartsfuneralhome.com.
Evarts Funeral Home is in charge of his arrangements.
Published on September 9, 2016
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