From the Archives, June 2, 2019

Boxwell Greats: Bobby Smith

If you can believe it, Staff Week begins this week. So, it seems appropriate to honor another one of Boxwell’s Great Staff members. This week we take a look at Bobby Smith.

Bobby was the Head Ranger at Boxwell at Old Hickory Lake from 1966 to 1973. Bobby had been a Scoutmaster for a troop up in Indian Mound, Tennessee and then worked as civilian personnel at Fort Campbell before coming to Boxwell. Bobby headed quite the ranger staff. With himself as head, he had Pumpkin Green (Larry Green’s brother), a man named “Uncle Bill”, and of course the amazing Farmer Bush all working for him.

As ranger, Bobby always kept a few things under the seat of his blue pick up truck. First, binoculars, which he would use to see if Ward Akers was at Ittabeena (Fehrmann today). He kept a gun, in case he needed to shoot someone or a critter. And he kept a roll of toilet paper. Because you never know when you might need toilet paper.

Bobby was responsible for building Akers’ Cabin (or Ittabeena or Fehrmann, depending on your era). Bobby was responsible for bringing a lot of equipment that was screened from the military, including cots and mattresses and sometimes even furniture for the staff. Bobby headed the farm operations at camp at the time, which meant either killing hogs or taking animals to the slaughterhouse. He raised his family at camp too. It is not unusual to see pictures of his daughter Joann with the daughters of Ed Human at Camp Murrey.

Bobby left Boxwell in 1974 for another job, but he wasn’t done with the camp. He was instrumental in keeping in contact with a group of former District Executives who had been staff members. This group, at Bobby’s behest, started getting together every Memorial Day for a group campout in the 1970s. From here, the very first staff Reunion was born in 1983. Bobby helped put this Reunion and the 1989 Reunion together, continuing to visit and to camp with the “XDE” group until well into the 1990s.  Indeed, Bobby’s influence was so profound that these same men created a “specialty” table dedicated to Bobby, which sits in Craig dining hall to this very day.

What many people remember though about Bobby was his hospitality. If you showed up at Boxwell one late afternoon and got to talking with Bobby about whatever, it would not be unusual for him to invite you over to the Ranger’s house. He and his wife Genese would cook something up and you would be part of the family. As Kerry Parker explained, Bobby never met a stranger and was always glad to see you. He was a symbol of what we today call “the Boxwell Spirit.”

Bobby Smith

Bobby Smith, head ranger from 1966 to 1973, at a campout of former staff members in 1989.

 

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