Robert Earl Smith

Retired Houston police officer

Retired Houston Police officer Robert Earl Smith, 61, died Saturday following a heart attack suffered one week earlier. He suffered from Type II diabetes. He was born April 21,1944, on a farm in the North Cedar Creek community in northeast Trinity County, the youngest of the six children of Vannie Adele Due Smith and William “Dale” Smith Sr. His family had lived in Trinity County since 1872 when his great-grandparents, Simon Jackson Smith, a confederate veteran of the U.S. Civil War, and Adeline Gandy Odom Smith, settled north of Apple Springs.. He graduated from Apple Springs High School in 1962 where he was a starting guard on the Eagles basketball team in the 64-B UIL division. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduation and was assigned to sea duty after basic training. He reported to his ship just before it deployed to duty in the Cuban Missile Blockade in the latter half of Oct., 1962. He reached the rank of Petty Officer second class in the Navy. After he was honorably discharged from the Navy, Mr. Smith was hired as an officer by the Texas Department of Corrections. From 1965 to 1967, he was assigned to Death Row at the Ellis 1 Unit near Riverside, Texas. He attended Sam Houston State University while working for TDC. He joined the Houston Police Department in August 1967 and graduated from HPD Academy Class No. 36. Throughout most of his career with HPD, he worked ass a patrol officer in the Northeast and North Sheperd sub-stations. He met his wife of 26 years, Irma Oralia Smith, during an assignment to the Central Patrol Station Records and Planning Research Division. He was promoted to sergeant in September 1973. The last 11 years of his career were spent in the Northwest Division. Declining promotions that would have taken him off of street patrol duty, “Ole Sergeant Bob” retired from HPD in April 2004. Mr. Smith claimed to have made the first arrest in the State of Texas related to stolen lottery tickets when he answered a call from a convenience store in the Northwest Division not long after lottery sales began in Texas. Mr. Smith was a 32nd degree Mason with the Houston Scottish Rite Bodies; a Master Mason with the Eastern Star Masonic Lodge No. 284 in Groveton, Texas; a member of the American Legion; a member of the HPD Post of Veterans of Foreign Wars; he also held memberships with the Houston Police Sergeants Association, the Houston Police Patrolman’s Union, and the Houston Police Association. He was active in outdoor sports. He coached fast pitch softball with the Southwest Houston Girls Softball; coached the Alief Titans; and was an assistant coach with the Houston Illusions in Pasadena. He was an avid white-tailed deer and wild hog hunter. He trained dogs to hunt hogs.

Mr. Smith was preceded in death by all but one of his siblings, including Minta Smith; Dwight T. Smith, Sr., William “Mickey” Smith Jr.; and John F. Smith. He is survived by his wife, Irma of Houston, four children, William Andrew Smith, Robert Kevin Smith, Kris Alexandria Smith, and Karlos Alexander Castillo; a brother, Omer Burl Smith of Grand Chenier, La.; seven grandchildren, Lauren Ashley Smith, Robert Kevin Smith,Jr., Ty Garrett Smith, William Andrew Smith, Jr., Morgan Marie Smith, Rayburn Peyton Smith, Katy Lynn Smith; and several nieces and nephews.

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