William “Bill” Edwards Smith, Sr.

William “Bill” Edwards Smith, Sr., age 85, went to meet the Lord on Saturday, September 16, 2023. Bill was born on September 8, 1938, in Lancaster, VA, the son of the late Lloyd and Fannie Smith. His priorities were faith, family, and shipbuilding – with a healthy dose of golf interspersed. Bill was a gentleman of yesteryear who always had a kind word for strangers, held his wife’s hand in church, and had a handkerchief at the ready. He was devoted to his wife of 63 years, Vivian, and was forever proud of his children and grandchildren.

His 43 years at Newport News Shipbuilding defined him in many ways, but even that does not compare to his lifetime of faith. A deacon and elder for many years at Northside Church of Christ in Newport News, he went on to help grow St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Suffolk and was a founding member of Tappahannock Presbyterian Church. Over the years, he also served his community as a young member of the Peninsula Jaycees, a coach and President of Newport News Little League, and, later, a member of the Essex County Planning Commission. Simply put, in a world filled with takers, Bill was a giver – to church, family, country, and community.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Vivian Baughan Smith; son, William “Bill” E. Smith, Jr.; daughter, Sharon Smith Shumate (Tom); daughter, Karen Conwell Smith (Will Brown); and grandchildren, Capt. Austin Shumate, U.S. Air Force, CPT Leara  Shumate (Melissa), U.S. Army, Rafe Shumate, Va. Tech Corps of Cadets, Virginia Brown, and Grayson Brown. Also left to miss him dearly are his devoted sisters, Marie Carter and Ann Moore, and his brother, Wayland Smith. In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by his brothers, Donald Lee and Tommy Smith, but is now surely united with them in heaven.

The family would like to thank Monique Warren, Josephine Onley, and Sabrina Collins for their special care and love of Bill.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Holmes Presbyterian Church in Cape Charles, VA, and to the Apprentice School Foundation to support the scholarship and education of future shipbuilders who work to protect us all.

A visitation and celebration of life will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home in Newport News, VA, on Sunday, September 24, 2023. A private service and burial will be held the following day.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., 


  1. Vernon Murray

    Condolences to the family of Bill Smith. May the rich legacy of Bill’s faith and optimism continue to remind those of us who knew him and loved him that we do not grieve without hope.

  2. Dave and Miken Stephenson

    Bill was the quintessential gentleman in every regard. I wasn’t around him often, I knew him through Karen, but I was enough to recognize that every time I took leave of him I felt empowered to be a better man. Miken and I offer our most heartfelt condolences, and yet are thankful he has found peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *