Franklin Walter Smith, owner of S & S Ranch (established 1972), passed away peacefully at his home on August 4th, 2023. Born on October 21, 1943, in Dallas, FL, he was the third child of Buck and Eloise Smith. Brothers DVM Perry, DVM Jerry, and Juddy completed a quartet of young men that excelled in athletics, agriculture and veterinarian science. A graduate of Lake Weir High School, Frank was a member of the 1960 State Champion Track Team. He was named ‘Most Athletic’ in 1961 after lettering in all four major sports. Frank attended Troy State University, returning home to marry his high school sweetheart Patty Williams of Weirsdale on December 20, 1961. He continued his formal education at the University of Florida majoring in Agricultural Science, again returning to Marion County, where he worked in the Citrus Industry for 10 years before founding S & S Ranch.
He specialized in cattle and watermelons for the next 51 years. Papa or ‘Mr. Frank’ (as he was known in the cow pens and on the loading dock) created a legacy of quality agricultural production that earned the respect, loyalty, and accolades befitting his lifelong passion for all things agriculture.
Ever the sportsman, Frank was a regionally ranked professional calf roper and an avid hunter. He was known for his prized walker deer hounds and his award-winning cow dogs. And somehow, amid his demanding schedule, he still found the time to coach the Belleview Bulldogs, winning multiple Marion County Youth Football League Championships.
Frank was a member and president of The Marion County Cattleman’s Association, and a member/director of The Florida Farm Bureau. Other memberships include: The Florida Cattlemen’s Association, The National Cattlemen’s Association, The National Watermelon Association and the PRCA.
A longtime supporter of the Ocala Bull Sale and The Southeastern Youth Fair, he was presented with the Farm Credit Outstanding Rancher & Leader Award in 2006. Frank was inducted into the Marion County Agricultural HALL OF FAME in 2014 for his lifetime achievements.
Papa was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Patricia Williams Smith. He is survived by his sons Darrell (Pamela) and Darren, his granddaughters Casey Smith and Haley Smith Terrell (Jeremy), his great-grandchildren Raelynn and Stetson Terrell, and his ever-faithful companion ‘Sassy’.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, August 26th, 2023, at 2:00 PM at the First Baptist Church, 14550 SE 65th Ct, Summerfield, FL 34491. Services entrusted to Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, 5946 SE Robinson Road, Belleview, FL 34420. Condolences may be left at Hiers-Baxley.Com.