Dr. Howard Lee “H.L.” Smith

Dr. Howard Lee “H.L.” Smith, M.D., F.A.C.S. of Marlin, Texas passed away on Saturday, August 5, 2017 he was 89 years old. Known to many as of his friends as “H.L.” Dr. Smith was born in Marlin, Texas on the 13th of February 1928 and was the only son of Dr. Howard Owen Smith JR. of Hamilton, Texas and Mary Ashley Smith (née Lee) of Galveston, Texas. H.L. graduated from Marlin High School with the class of 1944. In the autumn of that year, he matriculated with the class of 1948-B to the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA where he graduated Bachelor of Science (Pre-Med) on the 8th of June 1948 and received his commission in the Army Reserves as a Second Lieutenant. Howard Lee was accepted to Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland earning his MD in 1952 and he went on to complete his residency and training as a General Surgeon at the University of Michigan’s Medical School in Ann Arbor. His inherent sense of duty, coupled with the promise of a position on the staff of the Torbett Hospital brought him back to Marlin in 1957 where he had the opportunity to work alongside his father. He eventually became Torbett’s Chief of Staff and served in that capacity some thirty years before joining the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in 1988, practicing in Marlin and Waco until his retirement in 2008. H.L. was a man of many talents and was passionate for a multitude of hobbies. Generations of Marlin youth were entertained by “Howard the Magician” at birthday parties and hospital beds. He raced S.C.C.A. during the late fifties and early sixties, driving in and winning dozens of events in his Triumph TR3-A, Lotus 11 and Lola MK1. He was an active water skier and could still slalom well into his seventies. He lived for his annual trips to Aspen, Co. and carving those long sweeping turns on blue runs as recently as 2007. He earned his pilots certificate in 1948 in a Piper J-3 Cub and would eventually become a certified flight instructor who taught many in the local area to fly and imbued them with a passion for aviation. Howard Lee owned and operated his own aircraft, a 1967 Mooney and was still flying around 100 hours a year until 2013. Howard Lee is survived by his “long-suffering wife” (joking of course), Patricia Ann Smith (née Thomas) of Palestine, Texas and their two sons, Michael Owen and his wife, Tina of Conroe, Texas and Thomas Albert and his wife, Andrea of Hastings, MI. “Papa” had five beautiful grandchildren, Cora Ashley, Cannon Lee, Xoe Beatrix, Thomas Jackson “T.J.”, and Gus Ulysses. H.L. and Pat were married on June 9, 1962 and recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Marlin, Texas with a “Celebration of Life” following at The Palace Theatre, Marlin. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Marlin Palace Theatre and/or St. John’s Episcopal Church.

The Marlin Democrat

211 Fortune St.
P.O. Box 112
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: 254-883-2554
Fax: 254-883-6553