Martinsville man leaves surprise bequest to Liberty
Liberty University recently received a $474,000 bequest from the estate of Martinsville, Va., resident Floyd William Smith, who died Nov. 4, 2010 at age 96.
Harold Knowles of Liberty’s Planned Giving Department met Smith only one time 10 years ago during an unexpected visit to his home.
“He loved the political stands Dr. Jerry Falwell [Liberty’s founder] took and especially on abortion,” Knowles recalled.
Knowles said Smith was private about his estate plans, but indicated he had “everything in order” and “was thinking about Liberty.”
Smith worked as an automobile mechanic and during World War II was a first class machinist and master mechanic at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. He later operated Smith & Mason Garage with his business partner Wilson Mason. After he retired in 1971, he assisted teachers in Martinsville High School’s vocational department. He was a world traveler and a NASCAR fan.
Smith never visited Liberty’s campus and did not specify how his gift was to be used. He financially contributed to Liberty since the 1990s, when he made a series of $25 and $50 gifts.
Smith’s estate also included a bequest of $550,000 to Patrick Henry Community College Foundation.
Smith and his wife, Marietta, were married for 67 years when she died in 2009. Smith was a member of McCabe Memorial Baptist Church.