Gary Dale “Duck” Smith, a lifelong resident of Knoxville, TN passed away suddenly in his home on February 18th, 2019 at the age of 65. Born on February 2, 1954, he graduated from Holston High School, Class of 1972. Duck spent much of his life at Whittle Springs Golf Course and loved to reminisce about his many hole-in-ones and golf championships. He worked for Mountain Lighting staging shows for Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker, and Willie Nelson, before finding his niche in “carnie cuisine” over years of traveling in the carnival concession business. He later returned to Knoxville and owned a few local establishments. For the last 2 decades, Duck spent his weekends operating his own business at the Sweetwater Flea Market selling his famous corn dogs. He was proud to forge his own path in life, being a lifelong, self-sufficient business owner. There are many things in which Duck took great joy, including good music, contemplating and executing elaborate, imaginative pranks on anyone (especially his children and grandchildren), being a firm Democrat, supporting the Tennessee Volunteers, working on projects around his home, tending to his beloved banana trees and enjoying nature’s beauty. His brilliant mind and special way of storytelling will be deeply missed, as will his clever wittiness, constant sense of humor, and his huge heart of gold.
Left to mourn his passing are his mother Alma Taylor Smith; his brother Tim Smith; children: Christina Gilson, Lindsey Smith, Stacie Smith, and Taylor Smith; his grandchildren: Maura Gilson, Baeleigh Gilson, and Jackson Carter; nieces: Beth Ann Nance and Heather Leeper; and dogs Blue and Marley. He is preceded in death by his father Dwayne L. Smith, sister Sandie Leeper, and several aunts and uncles. He rejoins them now in God’s loving arms.
Gary wished to be cremated, and an informal gathering of friends and family to celebrate his life will be held at Whittle Springs Golf Course clubhouse on Saturday, March 2nd from 6:30-9pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Young-Williams Animal Center or any animal rescue of your choosing, or to Second Harvest Food Bank; and for his Republican friends, he would request your vote for the Democratic party be cast in his absence. Please leave your funniest and fondest memories of him on the website’s tribute wall, or upload any pictures you may have. In true Duck fashion, if you feel that your story should not be shared publicly, please write them down and bring them to share at his celebration of life.
Young Williams Animal Center
3201 Division Street, Knoxville TN 37919
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee
136 Harvest Lane, Maryville TN 37801