Watty Noble Smith


Visitation Details

Service Details
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM 7:00 PM
Monday, May 22, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
Bordwine Funeral Home Bordwine Funeral Home
203 Ohio Ave., Etowah, Tn 37331 203 Ohio Ave., Etowah, TN 37331
Interment Green Hill Cemetery
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:00 AM












America has lost another hero.  (Retired) Major Watty Noble Smith, 80, of Etowah, passed away Friday, May 19, 2017 at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN.

Born in Crawfordsville, AR, Watty was a resident of Etowah, TN for the past forty-seven years. He is preceded in death by his father, Walter Noble Smith; his mother, Margaret Perry Smith; and his sisters Mary Smith and JoAnn Smith.

He was a graduate of Palestine High School in Palestine, AR.  He enlisted in the military, where he served two tours in Vietnam.  He was in the Army’s 25th Infantry Division and a Green Beret with the 10th Special Forces Group.  During his career he received the following:  Bronze Star with “V” device (3 OLC), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Metal, Vietnam Service Medal, Army Service Medal, Vietnam Staff Service Medal First Class, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal 1st Class (2d Awd), Combat Infantry Badge, Parachute Badge, Aircraft Crewman Badge, and  Danish Airborne Wings.   After retiring from the Army, Watty worked for L&N Railroad until he retired after 18 years.  He spent the remainder of his days playing golf, enjoying time with family, and supporting his beloved Lady Chargerettes.  He also was the voice and letter writer for Vietnam veterans all over the country, especially lending his support to their families.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Helen A. Smith; his brother and sister-in-law, Donnie and Pam Smith; his sister-in-law, JoAnn Bunch; his two daughters and sons-in-laws, J.T. and Tammy Gard and Bob and Kim Cantley; his two sons and daughters-in law, Jerry and Beth Smith and Eric and Amy Newman.  He loved his thirteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.  Special thank you to his caretaker and dear friend Katarina Powers and her son James.

A funeral service will be held Monday, May 22, at 7 p.m. at Bordwine Funeral Home in Etowah with Representative John Forgety officiating, assisted by Dan Guy.  Family and friends will assemble at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning at the funeral home and proceed to Green Hill Cemetery for the 11 a.m. committal service, officiated by Sheriff Joe Guy. The family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. Monday prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the VFW of McMinn County, 706 Congress Pkwy N, Athens, TN. 37303 or to any of your selected sports programs at McMinn Central High School 145 CR 461, Englewood, TN 37329.



Posted in: Obituaries

Leave a Comment (23) ↓


  1. Robin & Charles Phillips & Family May 23, 2017

    To the family
    My family had the honor & privileged to have known this man. He always had such a big heart and always had a smile on his face and a kind word to say. God gained such a special angel.
    Prayers for his family

  2. Dennis and Kil Cha (Judy) Kennedy May 23, 2017

    Our sincere condolences to Helen and the family. We’ve known Watty for 45 years from our 10th SFG(A) day s at Ft Devens, MA. He is an amazing guy and developed a magnificent family. Our prayers and thoughts are with you as you go through this time of grief. We will miss Watty, but will also know that he is in a better place waiting for all of us to join him one day.

  3. Jim and Joan Kirkland May 23, 2017

    We were so very sorry to hear about Watty. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Jim and Joan

  4. Tony and Carolyn Goodin May 22, 2017

    Ms. Helen, Kim, Jerry and Family

    We were saddened to hear of Watty’s death. As long as we can remember, he was an integral part of McMinn Central sports. Please accept our heartfelt condolences at the loss of your husband and father.. He was a friend to all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time..

    Tony and Carolyn

  5. Wampler Family May 22, 2017

    Such a caring man who showed it in so many ways . His love of Central will never be forgotten. Praying for his family during this time. He made a difference in so many lives. Rest in peace.

  6. Carole Lambert May 22, 2017

    I am so sorry to hear about Watty. I wish I could have been there tonight for the funeral, but I was staying with Mom. My fondest memory of Watty was him throwing me in the pool at my wedding reception, what a moment that was. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family. Love you all.

    Carole Rule Lambert

  7. Hearl Newman May 22, 2017

    I am sorry to hear about the passing of Watty. I am having to work and unable to be at the service. My wife, Amy and I are thinking of you and your family with our hearts and remembering you in our prayers.

  8. Ronny Carroll May 22, 2017

    We have all lost a faithful friend in Waddy. I served with him in Vietnam, and even though we weren’t close over there, we became great friends after seeing each other at our Manchu Reunions. He was such a joy to be around. I loved to listen to his stories and play golf with him. He was one of the first persons I looked for when I arrived at the reunions. Waddy, we will all miss you. Rest in Peace, but KEEP UP THE FIRE!!


  9. Dennis Wagner May 22, 2017

    Dear Miss Helen and Family,
    We are sorry for your loss. Watty was a good friend, a brother in arms and we cherish our memories of the times we were together at our Manchu Reunions. We will miss him greatly.
    Dennis and Marianne

  10. Pete Fairchild May 22, 2017

    His fellow soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry (“Manchu”), 25th Infantry Division, mourn the death of Watty N. Smith. In March 1967 Watty wrote the first draft of a citation that led about two years later to the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor to Army First Lieutenant Ruppert L. Sargent, a B Company soldier who had been killed in action. Many years later Watty spoke at the 2002 dedication of the Ruppert L. Sargent City Administration Building in Sargent’s hometown of Hampton, Virginia. Watty attended several annual reunions of Vietnam combat veterans of the Manchus. We recall him fondly.

  11. Heather Powell May 21, 2017

    I had the pleasure of caring for Watty when he was at NHC for Rehab. He was the most humble man I have ever met. He always said he had the best wife around. He was so proud of this country. He always said that his wife was the Commander in Chief and he was just second in command. He will be miss! Love you Watty! RIP my friend.

  12. Janice Snider May 21, 2017

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  13. Rebecca & Dan Stansberry May 21, 2017

    Watty was a tremendous man and loved by all his fellow Manchus and their wives. It was such an honor to visit with Watty and Ms. Hellen at our annual Manchu meetings throughout the country. He added so much to our meetings and will be missed by so many. He has now joined those that perished in Vietnam. May he rest in peace!

    Rebecca & Dan

  14. Joe and Ellen Simmons May 21, 2017

    Praying for the Family. Watty will be missed by so many people.

    Ellen and Joe Simmons

  15. Jamie, Ivory, Brandon and Auria Martin May 21, 2017

    We are praying for all of you.

  16. Marilyn Rowden May 21, 2017

    Watty was our neighbor at Greenhill for more than 20 years . I am remembering all of the great times we had . When we moved to Athens 22 years ago , Jerry still missed walking around the circle with Watty . I will always cherish the fond memories of Helen and Watty and their children , it was a great place to raise our daughter Kim .
    Love and Prayers to all of the Smith Family .
    Marilyn Rowden

  17. Donny Hill May 21, 2017

    A veteran can always tell if another veteran is “the real thing”, or if he is someone who was just “there”. Although I only knew Watty from a couple of years of meetings we both attended at the Vet Center in Chattanooga, it was easily apparent that he was absolutely real. Watty is, and will always be missed by his brothers – in -arms .
    Rest in peace, my brother, you’ve earned it.

  18. Margaret Colon May 21, 2017

    Dear Helen and family,

    My heartfelt thoughts are with you. Watty was a wonderful man, loved and respected by all. Hector had a fond place in his heart for Watty. He has left the world and all who knew him better for it

  19. Frances Perry mathews May 20, 2017

    He was love by a lot .I always love to see him and Helen Ann we had the best of time I will miss him so very much. Love to all

  20. Larry Mitchell May 20, 2017

    Dear Ms. Helen and family,

    This is a sad day for the Manchus. Watty meant so much to us. Our thoughts are with you through this difficult time.

    All the best to you.

    Mitch and Linda

  21. Lisa Slack May 20, 2017

    Ms. Helen and family,
    He lived up to his most fitting name! An upstanding, respected, loved, role model for so many..knowing him made me want to be a better person! I loved him dearly and even though we didn’t speak daily I kept and will keep you all in my prayers. He will be so missed and the time spent with him will forever be cherished! My heart feels the loss, my mind is still trying to understand, but I have faith and trust in the lord…knowing that he has been brought home and that he watches over all of us now as he did and has done his life through. I am eternally blessed and grateful for have known a man of his caliber. His memory will always remain…

  22. Tom Williams May 20, 2017

    A truly great man

  23. Anne Catron May 20, 2017

    Watty was a good friend to Claude and to me. He was a community-minded man and influenced many people, helping others anytime he could. I have fond memories of our National Guard activities with Claude and Watty. He will be greatly missed!


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