On February 18, 2017, Eugene (Gene) Francis Smith passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren. Gene was born Hans-Juergen Gerhard Findling in Ettlingen, Germany, on April 12, 1948. Orphaned as a toddler, Gene was adopted in 1951 by his US military parents, Charles F and Rhoda (Murphy) Smith.
A private family service will take place at Texas State Veteran’s Cemetery in Killeen, Texas.
Gene is preceded in death by his parents, father and brother-in-law Bernie and Brian Winkler. He is survived by his wife , Carrie (Winkler) Smith, two daughters, Christa DeLaGarza and husband Carlos; Jenna Springfield and husband Justin ; Mother-in-law Carolyn Winkler; Sister’s-in-law Beverly Villarreal and husband Felix and Donna Winkler; brother-in-law Chris Winkler and wife Kimberly; and five grandchildren : Carlos, Jr. and Hunter DeLaGarza, Henry, Jarrett and Mason Springfield.
Growing-up, Gene attended Catholic Schools, graduating in May 1966 from Aquinas High School in Augusta, Georgia. In 1966, after graduation, he enlisted in the US Navy, graduating from the Navy Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill., and beginning of a 51 year career in nursing. He served in the Navy 6 yrs. Gene graduated from Miami Dade College in 1971 with a degree in mortuary sciences. In 1977 Gene enlisted with the US Army. Staff Sergeant Smith proudly served 9 yrs. In 1990, Gene graduated from San Antonio College School of Professional Nursing. He spent many dedicated years working at Guadalupe Valley Regional Hospital in Seguin, TX. During these enjoyable years, he made many memories and lifelong friends.
Gene enjoyed fishing, boating, spending time with his “pups” JC, Gus, Penny and Lori. In retirement, he became a gentleman rancher. He often said, “I do not have to go anywhere for vacation, I wake-up every day out here (on the ranch) and it feels like a vacation. I just love living out here.”
In lieu of flowers memorials to The Wounded Warrior Project would be appreciated.