Ranson Smith, Sr. was born on June 19, 1937 in Bartow, Georgia. He was the eldest son of (the late) Elnora Jones and Eddie Lee Smith. At an early age, Ranson moved to Brooklyn, New York where he attended George Westinghouse High School until he joined the United States Army in 1956.
Ranson met his sweetheart and the love of his life Lula because both of their grandparents lived across the hall from one another. Ranson and Lula married on November 26, 1960 in Brooklyn. They spent fifty-nine glorious, fantastic years together raising four children. He was a wonderfully devoted husband and caring father.
Ranson was a proud United States Army Veteran who served his mission in Washington, D.C. as one of the first African-American soldiers of The Presidential Honor Guard for Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was tasked to escort Queen Elizabeth of England when she made her first visit to the United States in 1958.
Ranson retired from the New York City Department of Sanitation in 1990 after twenty-one years as a dedicated sanitation worker. He had been an active member and supporter of Sanitation's African-American Benevolent Society since the early 1970s. Ranson was a member of the Unity Democratic Club in Brooklyn for more than twenty years, serving as 2nd Vice President. Although he did not have political aspirations, he was a community activist who had concerns for the future of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood that he loved.
For ten years, Ranson served as Block President of the 500 Block MacDonough Street Block Association. He was also an active member of the 81st Precinct Community Council, receiving numerous awards for outstanding community leadership. He was most proud of his Citizen "Tree Pruner" award from the New York City Parks Department for his care for the City trees. As an avid chess player, Ranson was a chess instructor for the P.S. 5 Elementary School Chess Club. Ranson served the Board of Elections for almost every New York City election and every national election after he retired.
For over fifty years, Ranson was a member of Zion Baptist Church, serving the Van Ministry for over ten years, transporting seniors safely to and from our church services. Last year in 2019, Ranson received “The Best Dressed Senior Award” from the Senior Citizens Spotlight Ministry. He was an active Trustee and Men's Fellowship member until his passing.
Ranson was a member of King Solomon Enoch Lodge #12 in Brooklyn since 1993. He was not only a Master Mason of the thirty-third degree, but was also a master craftsman to all who knew him. Ranson was a people person and a social butterfly. He was the life of the party with his fashionable looks and charismatic personality (especially his storytelling). He loved to cook and reveal his baking skills any chance he could. He loved to lend a hand, and had a special love for seniors. As our Patriarch, he is loved and honored by his family and neighbors who were always glad to see "Smitty" on the block and around town. He was affectionately known as “The Mayor of MacDonough Street”. He encouraged all to participate in making life in our City a better place.
After a brief illness at the Manhattan Veterans Hospital, God called Ranson Smith from labor to reward on Saturday, April 4, 2020. He leaves to cherish his memory, his loving and devoted wife Lula B. Smith; four children: Cheryl McRae (James - deceased) of Columbia, South Carolina, Brigitte Adams (Jake) of Brooklyn, New York, Danielle Crandall (Philip) of Freeport, New York, and Ranson Smith, Jr. (Nedda) of Canton, Michigan; thirteen grandchildren: Armard, Eric, Natasha, Benjamin, Dawayne, Ranson, III, Aaron, Imani, Tory, Jonathan, Kenneth, Naya and Aria; eight great-grandchildren, three sisters: Helen Adams (of Willingboro, New Jersey), Lucille Hudson (of Miami, Florida) and Juanita Hickson (Robert, Sr.) of Wadley, Georgia; one brother David Jones (Betty) of Bartow, Georgia; a brother-in-law Willie Mac Teal (of Suffolk, Virginia); a sister-in-law Mary Sue Jones (of Wadley, Georgia); three aunts: Jean Cunningham (of Bartow, Georgia), Blanche Daniel (of Brooklyn, New York) and Ida Myrtle Daniel (of Middletown, New York); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, church family and extended family.
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