Randolph Relihan Smith, M.D., beloved husband of Becky Jo Hardy Smith, died on July 6, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was the son of the late Maxine Relihan Smith and Lester Vernon Smith of Augusta, GA, and was named for his maternal grandfather Randolph Cheatham Relihan of Douglas, GA, who was the Sheriff of Coffee County from 1928 to 1948.
Born April 13, 1944 at University Hospital in Augusta, Dr. Smith attended public schools in Augusta, including Richmond Academy, where he is a member of the ARC Hall of Fame. He earned a football scholarship to Clemson University, where he played for Hall of Fame Coach Frank Howard, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medicine.
He was drafted by the New York Jets of the AFL and the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL before the leagues merged, but instead of professional football, Dr. Smith chose a life of service, graduating in 1970 from the Medical College of Georgia, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Dr. Smith completed an internship in internal medicine at Wake Forest University, and residencies in otolaryngology at Duke University and plastic surgery at the Medical College of Georgia. He also completed a hand surgery fellowship at the University of Louisville (KY). He was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. Dr. Smith also served as a Major in the active reserves of the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Dr. Smith practiced plastic surgery and hand surgery at University Hospital for over 40 years and served in various leadership roles, including as President of the medical staff, co-chief fund raiser for the Heart and Vascular Institute, and Chairman of the Board of University Health, Inc., the hospital’s governing board.
He was President of the Exchange Club of Augusta, which awarded him the Book of Golden Deeds for community service, and served as chairman of the Investment Committee of the Clemson University Foundation. One of just five football players to ever receive an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) from Clemson, he was also awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Clemson Alumni Association and the Steve and Margaret Bond Distinguished Athletes Award by the Clemson Athletic Department.
He was a founder of Georgia Bank and Trust (now South State Bank), where he served as Chairman of the Board. Dr. Smith was a lifelong communicant of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, serving as Senior Warden and fund raiser for the Children’s Ministry Building. He also served as President of the Georgia Profits Investment Club.
Dr. Smith was a volunteer surgeon in developing countries from 1982 to 2015, during which time he made 40 trips to the Far East, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Central and South America, where he performed reconstructive surgery primarily on children and young adults related to war wounds, cancer, birth defects and burns.
He was recognized for his humanitarian work by various local governments where he volunteered, as well as by the American Medical Association, the Medical Association of Georgia (Jack A. Raines, M.D. Humanitarian Award), the Rotary Club of Augusta, GA (Paul Harris Fellow), the Georgia Hospital Association (Physician Hero in the Hospital Award), the Richmond County Medical Society (Civic Endeavor Award), the City of Augusta, and Columbia County.
Dr. Smith was an endurance athlete who ran more than 35,000 miles in his lifetime. He participated in many long-distance road races, and after age 65 he competed in six Ironman Augusta 70.3 races (swim, bike, run).
Dr. Smith was a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants and was a direct descendent of Stephen Hopkins, who was a passenger on the Mayflower in 1620.
He loved history, traveling and, above all, spending time with his family and friends. He was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather and his family will miss him dearly.
Surviving family members are his wife of 35 years, Becky, children Katherine Cross Smith of New York City, Randolph Relihan Smith, Jr. (Monica) of Atlanta, GA, Rebecca Elizabeth Smith Ashmore (Jerry) of Augusta, GA, and Michael Daniel Smith (Erin) of Charlotte, NC; grandchildren Randolph Relihan Smith III, Daniel Cheatham Smith, Maxine Irene Smith, Louis Navarro Smith, Jerry Thomas Ashmore IV, and Randolph Relihan Smith Ashmore; nieces Mary Barrett Smith of Mobile, AL, and Sarah Daniel Smith of Augusta, GA, who are daughters of his late brother William Patrick Smith; and nephews John Story, Greg Story and Clinton Hardy II.
The family gives special thanks to Georgia McCarthan for the loving care she provided Dr. Smith.
The memorial service will be Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 605 Reynolds Street, Augusta, GA 30901, the Rev. George D. Muir and Rev. Dr. Rodger B. Murchison officiating.
The family will receive visitors after the service at the River Room at St. Paul’s. Members of the Exchange Club of Augusta and members of the Board of University Health, Inc. will serve as honorary pallbearers. There will be a private interment at Summerville Cemetery.
Memorials may be sent to the University Health Care Foundation, 2100 Central Avenue, D-1, Augusta, GA 30904, or St. Paul’s Church, 605 Reynolds Street, Augusta, GA 30901.
Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484.