Oliver Martin Smith was born September 25, 1943 to the union of the late James Lewis and Dorothy Whitehead Smith in Chatham, Virginia. After graduating from Northside High School in Gretna, Virginia, it was only fitting that Oliver would pursue his passion by enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1961. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11, NIV).
Although very few minorities were serving in the Air Force during that era, Oliver helped pave the way for others who would follow in his footsteps. Oliver began his Air Force career as a Supply Inventory Specialist and his work ethic set him apart from his peers. Oliver continued to distinguish himself in the performance of outstanding service in every functional area throughout his military career. The exceptional leadership and ceaseless efforts demonstrated by Oliver earned him the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force—Chief Master Sergeant!
Chief Master Sergeant Oliver Martin Smith served in a myriad of assignments which include but not limited to: Thailand, Vietnam, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland), Germany, Turkey, along with numerous contingencies and deployments. As a consummate professional and visionary leader, Chief Smith displayed the Air Force Core Values daily: Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All we do! Chief Smith’s tireless and meticulous efforts both on-and-off duty allowed him to earn his Civil Engineering Degree from the University of Maryland. As a subject matter expert within the logistics career field which now included civil engineering, Chief Smith served on the planning commission for the new construction of the prestigious noncommissioned officers club at McClellan Air Force Base located in Sacramento, California.
Chief Smith’s leadership, expertise, initiative, and selflessness were some of the essential elements that helped to elevate and ultimately promote Oliver Smith into the top one percent of enlisted personnel— Chief Master Sergeant! The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Chief Oliver Martin Smith culminate a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and the United States Air Force!
Upon retiring from the Air Force, Oliver maintained those same core values of “Integrity, Service, and Excellence” as a devoted employee at Bank of America and Roosevelt Memorial Park. Oliver joined Bethany Baptist Church in 1991 under the exemplary teaching and dynamic leadership of the late pioneer and trailblazer, Reverend/Pastor Jake Manley, Sr. Oliver served in both the Trustee Ministry and Transportation Ministry.
Oliver enjoyed golfing and cooking during his spare time. Additionally, Oliver was a visionary and entrepreneur! Hence, in 1997, Oliver and family cut the ribbon of their newly established venue so affectionately known as, D’ Cracked Egg Restaurant in Chesapeake, Virginia!
Oliver was always smiling, confident, caring, kind-hearted, and he had exquisite taste in every aspect of his life. Oliver was a true friend to so many and he will be sorely missed by a host of relatives, friends, and other loved ones who mourn his departure. Oliver was preceded in death by his parents, James and Dorothy Smith; sisters, Vivian Jones, Bernice Smith; brothers, Donald Smith, Michael Smith; and one son, Andre’ S. Manley.
On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, the Lord called Oliver from earthly labor to heavenly reward. Oliver’s life and legacy will always be cherished by his beloved and devoted wife, Patricia Manley-Smith of Chesapeake, Virginia; two sons, Martin E. Smith (Manuela), Patrick Martin Manley Smith, both of Chesapeake, Virginia; two daughters, Danielle Smith of Seaford, Delaware, Lee Anne Smith of Los Angeles, California; four grandchildren, Jazmire Isaiah Smith of Atlanta, Georgia, Troy T. Hopkins of Seaford, Delaware, Henry O. Smith of Chesapeake, Virginia, and Kayla Faithful of Los Angeles, California.
Oliver also leaves to cherish his life and legacy, two brothers, John Smith (Eve) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cary Smith (Rosa) of Dover, Delaware; mother-in-law, whom he loved and adored, Mrs. Audrey M. Manley; a great friend and confidant, Dr. Ron Taylor; a faithful employee, Montelia Kelly; along with a host of other relatives and friends who loved and will always carry his memories in their hearts.
Each time we embrace a memory, we meet again with those we love…for the heart never forgets