Longtime public servant Joe Smith died Saturday at the age of 87.
For more than 40 years Smith was associated with two public offices — mayor of Dadeville and Tallapoosa County Sheriff. But Smith was also a businessman and civic leader.
“Joe had a lifetime commitment to the people of this area,” former Dadeville mayor Wayne Smith said. “He served three different terms as mayor and was a longtime sheriff too.”
Joe Smith even served the public in business.
“He came to Tallapoosa County from Clay County,” Wayne Smith said. “He had a Coca Cola route and furniture store.”
Wayne Smith said Joe was a very good friend of his father and helped him get a start in life like many others in Tallapoosa County.
“When I got married, he was the reason we had furniture in the house,” Wayne Smith said. “He wasn’t about what you could afford. It was always about what do you want and how much could you pay. Joe always worked with you.”
Current Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett ran against and defeated Joe Smith for the office in 1995. Abbett said Smith was humble and easy to work with.
“He was very gracious during the transition in 1995,” Abbett said. “He opened his door for me to learn the duties of a sheriff. He allowed me on-the-job training in the jail.”
Abbett is a native of Dadeville and his interactions with Joe Smith go well beyond the election of 1995.
“I’ve known Joe since his days on council and sheriff,” Abbett said. “We’ve been friends going back to his days in the furniture business. We pray for his boys and the entire family and give them our deepest sympathy.”
Joe Smith was an active member of Dadeville First United Methodist Church, an Alcazar Shriner, Mason and a member of the Dadeville Kiwanis Club. Mr. Smith served as mayor of Dadeville from 1973 to 1983, 1996 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2016. He also served as sheriff of Tallapoosa County from 1983 to 1995.
Wayne Smith said it was best to look at Joe Smith’s entire life to judge his giving nature.
“You have to look at the whole picture,” Wayne Smith said. “He served Dadeville and Tallapoosa County well.”