Clifton O. Smith Jr. (C.O. Smith)
May 13, 1925 – April 17, 2019
Clifton O. Smith Jr. (C.O. Smith), 93, returned to his heavenly home on April 17th, 2019. C.O.’s devotion to his family, his love for others, and his firm belief in God made him a light to his community and an inspiration to those who knew him.
C.O. was born to the late Clifton O. Smith Sr. and Maude Faye Johnson Smith, on May 13, 1925 in Chillicothe, TX . C.O. attended Wichita High School and Texas A&M College where he graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture as part of the Class of 1950. As part of the Greatest Generation, he served his country as a member of the US Coast Guard in World War II and served his state as the Superintendent of Parks for the City of Austin. C.O. had a distinguished career in the landscape industry with jobs at Smith’s Nursery and as owner of Hill Country Landscaping in Austin, TX.
C.O. was blessed with a large and loving family. He married his best friend and fellow parishioner, Martha Elene Smith, on February 23, 1951 in Wichita Falls, TX. C.O. helped raise three children all of whom followed in his footsteps to Texas A&M University and into the nursery business. C.O. faithfully served his church in various leadership positions including as a Deacon and head of the Beautification Committee at Hyde Park Baptist in Austin, TX.
C.O. loved growing plants and he loved making things beautiful; and this love left its mark on the state of Texas. He consulted with Lady Bird Johnson on wild flowers and worked with Judge Roy Bean’s family to develop and implement the concept of roadside parks in Texas. C.O. also impacted the look of Austin, Texas where he designed and landscaped the botanical gardens at Zilker Park and the Laguna Gloria Art Museum while also creating the master plan for downtown.
C.O., or Papaw, as he was known to many, had a keen wit which brought joy to many around him. He also possessed a loyal spirit, especially to Martha, which he watched over with such dedication through the final years of their life together. C.O. will be dearly missed by his loved ones, who are confident he is now working in the Lord’s garden in Heaven.
C.O. is survived by his daughter Deborah Bethancourt and son-in-law John Bethancourt; and C.O.’s sons Clifton Smith of College Station, TX and Timothy and Debbie Smith of Austin, TX; his grandsons and their spouses Justin and Erin Bethancourt, Kyle and Lori Bethancourt, Phillip and Cami Bethancourt and Chad and Christina Knips; his great grandchildren Isaac, Alex, Luke and Jack Bethancourt; John Thomas, Anna and Ryan Bethancourt; Nathan, Lawson, Weston and Hudson Bethancourt and Sadie, Tyler and Sophie Knips. He was preceded in death by his wife Martha Smith and granddaughter Holly Smith.
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