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In Memory of
Smith "Smitty"
1928 - 2016
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Life Story for Smith "Smitty" McArthur

Smith "Smitty"  McArthur
Smith McArthur Jr., better known as “Smitty” in his hometown, died at age 88 Friday afternoon at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday September 17, 2016 at 12:05pm at Victory Life Church. Visitation will be held Friday 6pm-8pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Services entrusted to Brownwood Funeral Home. Online Condolences may be made at
Smith “Smitty” McArthur was born February 24, 1928 in Minerva TX, to the parents of Smith McArthur Sr., and Margaret McArthur.
Smitty came to Brownwood at a young age with his father after the death of his mother. He attended R.F. Hardin School until the 8th grade when he determined he needed to earn money more than earn an education. Smitty later earned a GED from Howard Payne College.
His first entrepreneurial endeavor was shining shoes in Camp Bowie for the soldiers. He would shine shoes during the week and on the weekend he would go “junking” to collect scrap to sell. In 1946, Smitty moved his age up from 16 to 18 so he could enlist in the US Air Force. While stationed in Germany his job was airplane mechanic. This military training lit a fire in him and his love for mechanic work began. Once he returned to Brownwood from the military he worked for a meat packing plant until a workplace back injury robbed him of his ability to walk for a short period of time. A settlement from this injury gave him the seed money to become a sole proprietor and paved the way for Business #1 Smitty’s Garage. He became a master mechanic operating the garage for 16 years to support a family and barbecuing on the weekends selling his smoked meats around town. As the barbequing took off he decided to engage full time in the restaurant business. Business #2 Smitty’s Country Barbeque was born and opened its doors on July4, 1972. Smitty purchased the lot at 708 West Austin Avenue in 1970 and for 2 years developed the land and built the original building. After 20 years of operating the restaurant in true Smitty form the mechanic itch returned and Business #3 Smitty’s Garage and Body Shop was born. He simultaneously operated both the restaurant and garage beginning his work day at 4:00am six days a week. He worked using his knowledge as a Master Mechanic until his health would no longer allow him to do the strenuous work of a mechanic.
Smitty lived life to the fullest. He loved motorcycles, sporty cars, fishing and lifting weights a hobby he took up in his early 50’s. Smitty loved the Brownwood community and never expressed a desire to live anywhere else. His greatest joys came from greeting and waiting on customers where he would tell jokes and flash that winning smile.
In 2011, a fire threatened to destroy the business. But Smitty was determined to continue servicing the community with the “best” Bar-B-Q in town by providing take-out service from the kitchen until the restaurant was rebuilt.Although the fire broke his spirit he kept cooking and serving his customers and with the help of family and the community the restaurant became fully functional again 9 months later.
In May 2003, Smitty’s Barbeque received an Honorable mention in the Texas Monthly annual best barbeque issue for the smoked cabrito.
In 2012, Smitty received the Willie Lee Gay Legend Award during the Celebrate the Legend Banquet an annual event dedicated to restoring the R.F. Hardin School.
Smitty was a devoted Christian, who loved his family and even more loved the Lord. He was a long time faithful member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Just days prior to his passing, he stood boldly in church and confessed his love for Jesus Christ, and thanked him for 88 wonderful years of life.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father, beloved Uncle Jim Tindle, two sons; James and Wallace Ray McArthur and sisters; Wynetta Shields and Ella Mae Baldwin.
Left to Cherish his memories are daughters Willie Jean Conner and Vera McArthur, both of Dallas, Margaret Thomas of San Antonio, Rechelle McArthur of Carrollton, Rene Carrathus (Terry) of Brownwood, Elizabeth Galloway of Austin, and son Ravia McArthur (Trisha) of Brownwood. 15 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and a host of extended family and many friends.

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