Pearl River Community College

Board attorney Martin T. Smith dies

  Martin SmithPOPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College alumnus and long-time attorney Martin T. Smith died today at his home in Poplarville. He was 80 years old.
  Funeral arrangements will be announced by White Funeral Home in Poplarville.
  Smith served as the attorney for the PRCC Board of Trustees for approximately 30 years, beginning in the mid-1960s, and again since 1997. He also served in the state Senate for 20 years and as attorney for the City of Poplarville for the past 24 years.
  “Martin Smith served Pearl River Community College, his community and the state in an exceptional manner,” said Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president. “He leaves a mark of distinction on his career as an attorney, as a politician, but more importantly as an advocate for Pearl River Community College and the City of Poplarville. He was a special person who always stood for what was right and he tried to make things better for those who needed his help.
  “Few, if any, public servants have served the citizens of south Mississippi in the sincere and dedicated manner in which Martin Smith’s legacy will reflect. Our college and our community have lost a great friend.”
  Smith attended high school on the Pearl River Junior College campus and graduated from the college in 1954. He earned the bachelor’s degree and the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Mississippi in 1958 and returned to Poplarville to open a general law practice.
  He represented Pearl River County and surrounding areas in the Mississippi Senate from 1968 to 1988 and served as the first administrative director of the Administrative Office of Courts from 1993 to 1997.
  When he returned to Poplarville, he resumed his law practice, including representing PRCC and the city. His expertise was instrumental in PRCC receiving funds from the estate of Ethel Holden Brownstone that financed the bulk of the college’s new performing arts center - the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts
  “I was fortunate to get to know Martin through the Poplarville Rotary Club,” said Archie Rawls, director of the Brownstone Center. “His quick wit and amazing storytelling ability were always a highlight of our meetings. I will forever be indebted to Martin for his support of the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts and the important role that he played in securing the gift from the Brownstone estate.
  “That the beautiful theater in the Brownstone Center is named in honor of Martin and Dolores Smith is a fitting tribute to his legacy at PRCC. He will be greatly missed.”
  Smith served as the first chairman of the PRCC Development Foundation and was named PRCC Alumnus of the Year in 1983. He was active in numerous civic and economic development activities and served on the board of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation at the time of his death.
  He is survived by his wife, Dolores Thomas Smith; a son, Martin Barney Smith of Poplarville; and three grandsons.