A Spencer man who was instrumental in the establishment of Roane General Hospital has died.

Lt. Col. Robert L. Smith (USAF retired), 87, played a vital role in establishing health care facilities to meet the needs of the residents of Roane and Jackson Counties. He secured a certificate of need for Roane General Hospital and Jackson General Hospital, having procured funding for the construction of both facilities. He also served as the first administrator at each hospital.

He was a retired administrator from the Giles Memorial Hospital in Pearisburg, VA.

Smith died Thursday in Roane General Hospital.

He was a graduate of Friends School, Wilmington, DE and Officers' Candidate School. He was a veteran of the Korean Conflict, WWII, and a member of the VFW Post 5501, Ripley. Before transferring to the USAF, he was a member of the last mounted army cavalry unit.

He was the former owner of S&S Auto, Spencer. He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, Ripley, a member of Moriah Lodge #38 A.F. & A.M., Spencer, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Charleston, and Beni Kedem Temple, AAONMS, Charleston.

Surviving relatives include two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert L. and Dianne Smith, II and Don H. and Barbara Smith, all of Spencer; two daughters and sons-in-law, Martha Smith and Brent Wilson of Spencer, Laney Smith and Jeff Vallancey of North Myrtle Beach, SC; one sister, Mary Louise Levy of Towson, MD; nine grandchildren, Shawn Stanley, Dawn Hymes, Kristina Smith, Shannon Fouts, Kendra Smith, Shara Riley, Richard LeMay II, Shane Whitehead and Shana Whitehead; and 12 great grandchildren, Jevan and Shayla Stanley, Tyler and Turner Hymes, Cole and Brock Fluharty, Sydnie and Alyx Fouts, Tate and Brenna Riley, Greysen Whitehead, and Bryce Whitworth.

He was born February 27, 1917, in Wilmington, DE, a son of the late Herbert Rice and Martha Layfield Smith.

A funeral service will be conducted Sunday, November 21, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. in the John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer. Burial with military graveside rites accorded by American Legion Post #107, Ripley, and Masonic graveside rites by Moriah Lodge #38, A.F. & A.M. will be in the Mt. Zion Cemetery, Gay, WV. Friends may call at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.