Cover photo for Dr. Reuben Joshua Smith's Obituary
1932 Dr. 2023

Dr. Reuben Joshua Smith

February 8, 1932 — March 26, 2023

Athens, Georgia

Dr. Reuben Joshua Smith, 91, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 26 at St. Mary’s Hospice House.

Reuben was born at home in Doerun, GA, Feb 8, 1932, one of twelve children born to Dykes Carmichael Smith Sr and Hassie Williams Smith. He grew up working on the family farm.

After graduating from high school as valedictorian in 1952, Reuben proudly served in the US Navy, serving overseas during the Korean War, and honorably discharged as a Radioman 1st class in 1956. Following his military service, he returned to Doerun and worked in the mailroom at Spence Air Base in Moultrie.

In 1956, Reuben attended the University of Georgia where he earned a BS degree in Microbiology and was valedictorian of the School of Pharmacy. After graduating from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 1964, once again head of the class, he began his internship, then residency, in Macon, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In 1968, Dr. Smith (“Dr. Reuben”) returned to Athens joining the practice of Dr. John D. Elder.  Following the death of Dr. Elder, the practice soon added Dr. Robert E. Kelley and then, Reuben’s brother, Dr. J. Leon Smith. Over the years the practice welcomed Dr. Cynthia Mercer and many outstanding Board Certified OBGYNs to the Athens community and changed the practice name to Athens Women’s Clinic.  Dr. Reuben became Board Certified in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1970 and maintained his certification through retirement in 2003.

One of Dr. Reuben’s most proud professional accomplishments was his involvement in supporting the addition of Certified Nurse Midwives into the Athens community. This addition to OBGYN services greatly improved access and quality of care for women and newborns in the Athens area.  Dr. Reuben was a member of many medical societies, including a Fellow of the American College of OBGYNs, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the Crawford Long Medical Society, the Medical Association of Georgia, and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

He married Nancy Osborne Smith in 1980 which meant they now had a blended household of five children. In addition to his professional medical career, family life, and running between ball games, Dr. Reuben and Nancy always looked forward to the next local or international medical mission trip.  During those years, they developed lifelong friendships within their church family and a deep love for missions around the world.  Missions have included trips to Kosovo, Belize, Honduras, Columbia, two summers in Kijabe, Africa, and many trips to Nicaragua.  The love Reuben and Nancy have shared for Nicaragua continues to have a tremendous impact on their children and grandchildren and other family members. Several members of their family have been to Nicaragua at least once and most are planning return trips soon.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers Dykes C. Smith, Jr and Dr. Darius Smith, sister in law June Smith, brothers in law Dr. Jim Rogers and Wayne Bailey.

Survivors include his wife, Nancy; daughters Rebecca (Mike) Smith Franklin, Joy Catherine Smith; Step daughter, Tiffany (Dale) Segars Parrish; step sons Jeffrey (Christy) Segars, Joshua (Alicia) Segars; grandchildren Laura Franklin, Ethan Brown, Emma Brown, Russ (Amber) Parrish, Sam (Jasmin) Parrish, Logan Segars, Sadie Hill Segars, Tucker Segars, Lily Segars, Liam Segars; Siblings Dois Smith Rogers, Ann (George) Smith, Vera Smith Mauldin, Ruth Smith Bailey, Dr. Leon (Linda) Smith, Andrew (Sandy) Smith, Dr. Amos (Esther) Smith, Jerry (Terry) Smith; Reuben was Uncle Josh to many adoring nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Saturday, April 1, 2023, at Lord and Stephens West beginning at 1pm with service to follow at 3pm. Graveside service will follow at Barrow Memorial Gardens in Winder. A Potluck Reception will be at 6pm at Presbyterian Village 1400 Live Oak Ln Athens, Ga.

If you wish to contribute toward continuing Dr. Reuben’s mission work in Nicaragua, please make donations to: Grace Fellowship at: Reuben J Smith Mission Fund, 1120 Malcom Bridge Rd. Bogart, Ga. 30606.

Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville is entrusted with arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Reuben Joshua Smith, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, April 1, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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