Robert “Bob” Smith, who opened the doors to his own business, Atlanta Fork Lifts, Inc. in 1973, died May 21. He was 91 years old.
Smith made his way into shipyard operations at Newport News, Va., as a 23-year-old during World War II. He built ships, including the Yorktown Aircraft Carrier.
Bob later traveled to Panama City, Fla. to work for Wainwright Shipyard, where he met his wife of 65 years, Marion, who was working at the shipyard for the Maritime Commission. He later went into the military joining the US Navy Seabees Construction Battalion serving in the Philippines. After an honorable discharge from the Navy in December 1945, he returned home from Military service.
Smith worked for E.F. Craven Company of Greensboro, N.C. for several years performing field repair and service on heavy machinery including rock crushers, cranes and other road building machines throughout North Carolina.
Bob was then employed by Wrenn Brothers material handling company of Charlotte, N.C. He was assigned the duty of developing and organizing their service departments as the company opened branches in Greenville, S.C., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Atlanta, Ga. Organization was one of his strongest talents along with management skills. Having successfully implemented and grown these service departments, he decided that it was time to fulfill his lifetime dream of opening his own business.
Smith opened Atlanta Fork Lifts, Inc. at the age of 55 and became an award winning Toyota Forklift Dealer in 1977. He was 86-years-old when he was forced to retire due to Alzheimer's disease.
Bob is survived by his wife Marion; a son, Robert Lee (Phyllis) Smith Jr.; and five grandchildren.
The family is requesting that In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 550, Atlanta, GA 30345 and Gideon International, P.O.Box 665, Stone Mountain, GA 30086-0665.