Phil Smartt, church leader and member of the County School Board and the Erlanger Hospital Board, died Saturday.
He was born on Oct. 8, 1943, in Chattanooga, the second child of Knox and Juanita Smartt. He "learned at an early age the importance of faith and family. He was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend."
He graduated from City High School in Chattanooga in 1961. Shortly thereafter, he served in the Northern California Mission as the first full-time missionary from Chattanooga for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After he returned from his mission, he married Gloria Dawn Rose Smartt in the Oakland California Temple. They were married for almost 57 years. Together they had six children, four daughters-in law, two sons-in law, 29 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.
Mr. Smartt was also the first member of his family to graduate from college receiving a degree in Animal Science from Brigham Young University in 1968. Early in his professional career he worked in sales with agricultural cooperatives throughout the Southeast. Later he founded Phil Smartt Insurance in Chattanooga as an independent agent for various insurers.
He "dedicated his life to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ wherever he was. He taught his family to do the same. He willingly served to help grow his faith community as a Bishop in the 1970s and as a Stake President in the 1980s and 1990s, among many other church and community responsibilities over the years. He was fiercely loyal to the prophets and leaders of his church, both modern and ancient, because of their teachings to follow Christ."
At the request of church leaders, he and Gloria accepted a call in 1994 to preside over the California Oakland Mission. He willingly sold his business to serve, and upon their return to Chattanooga, he re-established his business from scratch until he retired in 2011. Again, when asked, he and Gloria willingly accepted the call in 2011 to officially establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bosnia and Herzegovina - a mission they successfully completed when Bosnia and Herzegovina became the last country in Europe to officially recognize the Church. They also served as temple workers in the Atlanta, Georgia Temple.
Mr. Smartt was very active in his community and Republican politics. He was one of the earliest supporters of President Ronald Reagan in Tennessee, and he actively supported candidates who championed religious freedom, integrity, and morality. He was a founding member of the Pachyderm Club in Chattanooga, an active member of the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, past president of the Professional Insurance Association, served on the Hamilton County School Board (where he also served as chairman), the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, the Hamilton County Wastewater Treatment Authority (where he also served as Chairman), and as a Trustee appointed by the Tennessee General Assembly to the Board of Trustees of the Erlanger Health System (one of the largest public hospital systems in the United States). He also founded the Chattanooga chapter of the BYU Alumni Association, initiating an annual golf tournament providing scholarships for every student in the Chattanooga-area who attends BYU.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road.
The funeral service will also be held on Friday from 7-8 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road, with Elder Richard G. Youngblood officiating.
Arrangements by Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel, 8241 East Brainerd Road.