Obituary: Gregory Fitzgerald Smith

Gregory Fitzgerald Smith

(1955 – 2018)

Mr. Gregory Fitzgerald Smith, 62, of New Bern, passed away suddenly on January 29th, 2018. Greg’s lifelong pursuit of compassion, philanthropy, and family began when he was born in Louisville, KY as the first child of Dr. William Cheney Smith and Mrs. Winnie Fitzgerald Smith on December 23, 1955. His parents treasured these values and over the course of his life, instilled in Greg with the love and goodwill he would need to become “Mr. New Bern”. Greg was the owner and proprietor of Mitchell Hardware, located at 215 Craven St. in downtown New Bern. Spending more than twelve hours of every working day molding his turn-of-the-century hardware store, Greg created a must-see destination for visitors to New Bern, as well as an invaluable resource for local residents. Greg’s abundant energy, personal warmth, and love of people are reflected in the hardworking staff at Mitchell’s, whom he always considered a part of his family. Greg graduated from Durham High School in 1974, but not before serving as class president during his sophomore and junior years, as well as student body president during his senior year. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Conservation from North Carolina State University in 1978. Before he began his career at Mitchell Hardware in 1987, Greg served 10 years with the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive for the East Carolina Council. His many accomplishments with the Boy Scouts of America began as a youth when he earned the rank of Eagle Scout and served as Camp Counselor at Camp Reeves. As District Executive, he served for several summers as Program Director at Camp Bonner. Greg served with the Order of the Arrow as a Vigil Honor member, and as Council Staff Advisor to Croatan Lodge. He was awarded the Silver Beaver for distinguished service to scouting. The Boy Scout Slogan is “Do a good turn daily.” Greg lived this with every scouting experience he shared. He was a leader, role model, mentor, and friend to all scouts and leaders during his time of service. For this, the friendships made and lives he touched will forever carry Greg’s infectious spirit in their hearts. Greg’s legacy is best known not only as a hardware store owner and dedicated Scout leader, but also as a strong community leader and activist. He supported the revitalization of New Bern over the years serving as Chair of the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Craven County Tourism Development Authority, Community Campaign Chair for the Craven Community College Foundation, member of the Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation, participant in the New Bern Historical Society, as well as other clubs, organizations, and groups. Greg also helped New Bern’s bustling downtown business community thrive through his mentorship and other means of support. He was an ambassador for New Bern and an advocate for charities, arts programs, city projects, cultural events, Mumfest, and more. For these efforts, Greg has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards by the city, the business community, and numerous organizations. More than his role as Mr. New Bern, business owner, and community developer, Greg’s proudest work was that of a father. Greg’s two daughters, Lindsay and Winnie, were unquestionably the most important people in his life, and were his tapestries into which he wove his most fundamental values of family, friendship, hard work, and compassion, and the result is a pair of daughters who loved and adored him. They are a reflection of his overwhelming love. In April of 2017, Lindsay and her husband Greg Sims had a daughter, Savannah Grace, adding “Grandaddy Fitz” to Greg’s ever-growing list of nicknames. Greg enjoyed vacations with family, trips to the beach, gardening), and block parties in the Ghent neighborhood where he lived. Greg is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Lindsay and Greg Sims of Decatur, GA, daughter Winnie R. Smith of New Bern; granddaughter, Savannah Sims; mother, Winnie F. Smith of Greensboro; sister and brother-in-law, Winnie S. and Thomas M. Leiendecker of Greensboro; nieces and nephews, Katie and Matthew Brockmeier of Denver, CO, Sam Leiendecker of Baltimore, MD, and Emily and Brad Verbosky of Owings Mills, MD; aunts, Rev. Francis Sue Fitzgerald of Winston-Salem, Emily W. Fitzgerald of Gretna, VA, and Patricia S. Talton of New Bern. A celebratory memorial service will be held at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, located at 203 South Front St., New Bern, NC 28560 at 2:00pm on Sunday, February 4th. Doors open at 1:00 pm. A private interment service for family will be held prior to the memorial service. As Greg was an advocate for so many charities and fund-raising efforts, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a local charity of your choice.

Funeral Services Provided By: Cotten Funeral Home

February 1st, 2018 by
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