Saturday morning, April 10, 2010, Luther L. Smith, 89, of Vidor, left behind the earthly body which failed him after good use, to enter the eternal home prepared for him by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to serve his God our Father with his wife and loved ones who preceded him. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 13 at First Baptist Church of Vidor, with burial to follow at Restlawn Memorial Cemetary in Vidor. The Rev. Terry Wright officiating. Luther’s family will receive guests to celebrate his colorful life from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday evening at Memorial Funeral Home in Vidor.

Luther was born on Dec. 13, 1920, to Rasie Lee Smith and Georgie Madison Smith in Ranger, Limestone County, Texas. Luther graduated from Kosse High School in 1939 as salutatorian of his class, and attended Lee Junior College in Goose Creek as a pre-law student while working at the Scarborough Pharmacy. After a year of study, Luther entered the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a P-38 Lightening ace fighter pilot, flying 76 missions in Europe and participating in the D-Day invasion. Luther was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Presidential Citation, Air Medal with 11 Oak Leaf Clusters, and Silver Star for gallantry. Luther’s plane was named the “Patient Virgin” and he earned the nickname “Loving Luther” from his outgoing personality, while becoming a captain prior to his discharge from the service.

Following the end of World War II, Luther followed his sister and brother-in-law to Beaumont where he met the love of his life, Ercell Linscomb, whom he wed in 1947, and moved to Vidor. Luther was employed at Sun Oil Company before becoming an independent insurance agent and opening his own agency, Smith Insurance Agency, where he gave good advice for free and sold insurance for a living until his retirement in 1984. Luther was a member of First Baptist Church of Vidor and engaged in active community service, including president of the Vidor Chamber of Commerce, director of the Orange County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, commissioner of the Orange County Emergency Services District No. 1, and director of Vidor State Bank. Luther was also honored as the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and as a community hero on KJAC Channel 4. Luther was a former part owner of Memorial Funeral Home, raised quarter horses and participated in cutting horse competitions.

Luther was preceded in death by his parents, wife; and two sisters, Eva Jewel Lee and Inez Jones. 

He is survived by his two daughters, Kathy Woods and husband, Ronnie and Becky Hunter and husband, Larry; four grandchildren, Ron Woods and wife, Kristy, Michael Woods, Melissa Hunter; Grant Hunter and wife, Catherine; five great-grandchildren, Aubrey, Haley, Lane, Madison and Taft; extended family members and many friends.

Luther’s daughters would especially like to thank Dr. Bowles, the Vidor Health and Rehabilitation Nursing Home and their staff, for the loving care given to their father over the last few years; and to also thank Odessy Home Health Care and their staff for the compansionate care given to Luther the last week of his life. Much love to Luther’s brother-in-law, Earl Singletary, for visiting him daily.