Gary Stephen (Smitty) Smith died peacefully at home on August 19 after battling cancer. He was 66.

He was born in Corbin, Ky., on June 3, 1953, the eldest son of Pete Franklin and BettyLou Smith.

Smitty was a two-sport star at Young High School, excelling in both baseball and basketball. He served in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Myrtle Beach, S.C. Upon completion of his service he began a career managing nightclubs and working in the food and beverage industry, most notably for Holiday Inn and the 2001 Nightclub. The experience prepared him to own and operate Smidrees, a restaurant and bar in Myrtle Beach. More recently, his love of the outdoors led him to open a successful lawn business on Martha’s Vineyard, The Lawn Ranger.

His adventurous spirit prompted him to rise to a challenge, including the first time he faced and successfully overcame cancer. His contagious smile always lit up the room. He loved being “the big brother” of the Smith Boys and entertaining family and friends with music and drink, especially his famous margaritas. He also loved boating and having that George Hamilton tan.

Although he had a less-than-average lifespan, he did not live an average life. Unfortunately, he died without experiencing some of his long-time goals: jumping out of a plane, driving across country with his partner Linda and their dog Charley by his side, or mowing an entire professional baseball field. He also wished he could have chowed down on one more Krystal burger.

Smitty was predeceased by his sister Laura. He is survived by his three brothers: Perry of Knoxville, Tenn., Scott of Ruston, La., and Chris of Knoxville, Tenn.; his partner Linda Dellatorre of Sarasota, Fla., and numerous extended family.

A celebration of his life will be held on Sept. 14 at Broadway Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Family and friends will gather from 3 to 5 p.m., and the service will begin at 5 p.m.