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ODU Sports Hall of Famer Louis 'Hickie' Smith Dies

Louis Smith

Louis Burke "Hickie" Smith, 94, a three-sport athlete for the Norfolk Division of William and Mary from 1936-38 and a member of the Old Dominion University Sports Hall of Fame, died Dec. 12, 2011, in Virginia Beach. He played football, baseball and track and field for the school that was to become ODU. He dominated track and field events, scoring in all but one event he competed in and never losing in the high and low hurdles.

Smith set the state record in the Virginia AAU track and field meet in 1938 for the broad jump of 22-8. That record lasted until 1941, when it was broken by another Old Dominion Hall of Famer, Johnny Brown, at 22-11. Smith averaged 15 points or more in each meet he participated.

Smith and Brown were old-timer football legends who were honored in 2009 when ODU restarted its football program after a 69-year hiatus. While he was attending college, however, Smith was better known for his feats in track and field. On one weekend in 1938, the Division's student newspaper, the High Hat, noted Smith's times and distances were comparable and better than varsity participants in track meets at William and Mary, VMI, Virginia and Hampden-Sydney. In the 1937 state AAU meet, Smith placed first in the broad jump, second in the high hurdles and third in the high jump.

As an outfielder, Smith led the baseball team in hitting in 1937 and later played semi-pro baseball. He played both offense and defense for the 1937 football squad.

After completing his career at the Norfolk Division, Smith served his country in the Army during World War II. He retired from the Naval Air Rework Facility in 1972.

Smith was born in South Norfolk, the son of the late William Burke Smith and Helen Ostrander Smith. He was retired from the Naval Air Rework Facility.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Lula Baker Smith, and stepson, Frederick B. Higgins Jr. He is survived by his wife, Ethel Fortune Smith; his sons, William B. Smith and wife, Mary, of Lansing, Mich.; David B. Smith and wife, Dale, of Virginia Beach; grandchildren, Justin V. Smith and wife, Carly, of Charlestown, W.Va.; Karen E. Smith and Brian S. Smith of Virginia Beach; stepgrandchildren, W. Boothe Higgins and wife, Jennifer, of Portsmouth, R.I., and Rebecca Lanahan of Spring City, Pa.; and step-great-grandchildren, L. Boothe Higgins, Audrey Higgins, Zachary Higgins, Max Higgins and Nicholas Lanahan.

This article was posted on: December 10, 2011

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