Former Erlanger school board and board member and church leader Phil Smartt dies
Philander Knox Smartt, Jr. died on May 14, 2022, surrounded by his wife and family.
He was born on October 8, 1943 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the second child of Knox and Juanita Smartt. Phil learned early on the importance of faith and family. He was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend.
He graduated from City High School in Chattanooga in 1961. Soon after, he served in the Northern California Mission as Chattanooga’s first full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . After Phil returned from his mission, he married his eternal companion, Gloria Dawn Rose Smartt in the Oakland California Temple. They were married for nearly 57 years. Together they were blessed with six children, four daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law, 29 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Phil was also the first member of his family to earn a college degree in animal science from Brigham Young University in 1968. Early in his professional career, he worked in sales with agricultural cooperatives throughout the Southeast . Later, he founded Phil Smartt Insurance in Chattanooga as an independent agent for various insurers.
He dedicated his life to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ wherever he was. He taught his family to do the same. He willingly helped grow his community of faith as a bishop in the 1970s and as a stake president in the 1980s and 1990s, among many other church and community responsibilities over the years. He was fiercely loyal to the prophets and leaders of his church, modern and ancient, because of their teachings in following Christ.
At the request of church leaders, Phil and Gloria accepted a calling in 1994 to preside over the California Oakland Mission. Phil voluntarily sold his business to serve, and upon their return to Chattanooga, he reestablished his business from scratch until his retirement in 2011. Again, when asked, he and Gloria voluntarily agreed the call in 2011 to officially establish the Church of Jesus. Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a mission they successfully accomplished when Bosnia and Herzegovina became the last country in Europe to officially recognize the Church. Phil and Gloria also served as temple workers at the Atlanta Georgia Temple.
Phil was very active in his community and in Republican politics. He was an early supporter of President Ronald Reagan in Tennessee and actively supported candidates who championed religious freedom, integrity and morality. He was a founding member of the Pachyderm Club of Chattanooga, an active member of the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, past president of the Professional Insurance Association, served on the Hamilton County School Board (of which he also served as president), Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, the Hamilton County Wastewater Authority (where he also served as chairman) and as a Tennessee General Assembly-appointed trustee on the Erlanger Health System Board of Directors (one of the largest public hospital systems in the United States). He also founded the Chattanooga Chapter of the BYU Alumni Association, starting an annual golf tournament offering scholarships to every Chattanooga-area student who attends BYU.
The family would like to give special thanks to Phil’s kidney donor, Chris Beckstrand, and the many doctors and nurses who cared for him.
Phil is survived by his wife, Gloria; six children, Deseret (Steve) Ward, Lanny, Jared (Christine), Celeste (Jim) Ward, Ammon (Vanessa) and Jarom (Laura); 29 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Barbara Jean (Richard) Posey.
He was predeceased by his parents, in-laws and son-in-law, Steve Ward. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, but we know we will be together again.
Family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 20 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road, Ooltewah, Tennessee 37363.
The funeral service will also be held on Friday, May 20, from 7 to 8 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road, Ooltewah, Tennessee 37363, under the direction of Richard G. Youngblood.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please consider a donation to the BYU Alumni Association by writing a check to “BYU Alumni Association” and mailing it to 1743 Windstone Drive, Ringgold, Georgia 30736 or Kidney Foundation of Chattanooga at www .kidneyfoundation.com/contribute.
Please share your thoughts and memories online at www.ChattanoogaEastBrainerdChapel.com
Arrangements by Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel, 8241 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.