Mr. Marlowe Leroy Smith, age 88, of Alachua, FL, passed away on January 15, 2024, at the VA Hospital in Gainesville. Marlowe was born on November 22, 1935 (1934 according to his Army documents) in Lincolnton, NC. At the age of 15, after earning money from delivering newspapers, he hopped on a bus and headed to Florida. He was able to get as far south as High Springs. From there, he walked to Alachua and asked the jailer if he could stay a few nights at the jail. Those few nights turned into nearly a lifetime of calling Alachua home. A few years later, Marlowe was attending the theatre in Alachua when he sat beside a young lady. After sharing popcorn and a ride home, they began dating and 3 years later, in 1956, he married the love of his life, Mary Sue Wilson. He was working at Copeland Sausage when he was drafted into the United States Army. After serving several years, Marlowe returned home and began working as an electrical laborer for HT Dressler. He had his hands in everything; he was a volunteer fireman and eventually Fire Chief for City of Alachua, he owned and operated the Maytag store in downtown Alachua, and in 1968, he opened Marlowe Smith Electrical which he owned and operated for over 30 years. Outside of work, Marlowe’s passion was racing. He helped build the Ellisville Speedway and owned many race cars over the years. He also enjoyed camping and traveled across the country camping. He was a faithful attendant of New Oak Grove Baptist Church for many years.
Marlowe leaves behind his wife of almost 68 years, Mary Sue Smith of Lake Butler; his children, Wade (Lu Ann) Smtih of Alachua, Pamela Dampier of Alachua, and Blair (Robin) Smith of Rocky Top, TN; his 6 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild and a second on the way; his siblings, Reed, Marie, and Shirley all of North Carolina; numerous extended family also survive. He is preceded in death by his parents and 8 siblings.
A funeral to honor Marlowe’s life will be held on Saturday, January 20, at 2:00 pm at New Oak Grove Baptist Church with Bro. Terry Elixson, pastor, officiating. The family will receive friends for visitation beginning at 1:00 pm at the church. He will be laid to rest with Military Honors at Forest Grove Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Archer-Milton Funeral Home, Lake Butler. 386-496-2008. www.ArcherFuneralHome.com