The Senior Fellows first became acquainted with David Smith in 2004. He became the second largest donor to the Institute, establishing the first endowed chair of the Institute, the “Dilday Chair of Philosophy of Religion,” in honor of Carroll’s Chancellor, Russell Dilday. In 2007, David Smith received the President’s Award for being a faithful donor, active supporter and encourager of the Institute from its inception. He was elected to the Board of Governors in the Spring 2007 board meeting.
It was always a delight when David Smith came to the Carroll offices. His love for the staff and passion for Carroll’s mission was clearly evident. Along with his wife, Charis, David enjoyed inviting the staff and their families for special dinners. Following one of those dinners, the Smiths honored the six founders of Carroll Institute — Bruce Corley, Budd Smith, Jim Spivey, Stan Moore, Russell Dilday, and Scotty Gray — giving each a beautiful brass bell, inscribed with words of gratitude for their steadfast labor in the founding of the Institute. Dr. Budd Smith commented, “The bells were custom-made to produce a single, harmonious tone and represented — in David’s words — the unified voice of those who serve at Carroll.”
David attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a BBA. Following college, he went to Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia where he graduated as a first lieutenant. After his time in the Army, David moved to Houston, Texas. It was in Houston that he met Charis Jeanne Wedgeworth whom he married on December 28, 1961. They joined South Main Baptist Church and raised a family together. His son, Doug, shared the following description of his dad:
Dad’s strong and steadfast faith was the foundation of his life; and, his commitment to his wife and family was paramount. He lived in kindness, forgiveness, respect, sharing, and honesty.
David founded Chemical Exchange Industries (CXI), Inc. and Texmark Chemicals, Inc. He pursued business ventures such as bell making, food service enterprises, nutcracker manufacturing, saddle case manufacturing, banking in Dime Box and Galena Park, collapsible campstool manufacturing, and book publishing.
David supported countless causes with his time and money. David and Charis have been known as long-standing patrons of theological education. Dr. Bruce Corley described David as a person who “bubbles over with a contagious enthusiasm to attempt great things for God. He is ‘one of a kind’—I think of Paul’s commendation of Timothy, “I have no one else like him.” (Phil. 2:20) David and Charis are trophies of God’s grace sent to us.”
David is survived by his wife Charis Jeanne Wedgeworth Smith, son David Madison Smith Jr. and wife Sharon Davis Rogan Smith and their daughter Keegan Rogan, son Douglas Hope Smith, daughter Sarah Lilyan Smith Ragsdale and husband John Michael Ragsdale and their daughter Allyson Ragsdale, his brother Paul “Bim” Heermans Smith and sister-in-law Martha Anne Bruce Smith, plus numerous nieces and nephews along with their children and grandchildren.