Kate E. Smith, M.D., 83 passed away surrounded by her loving family on July 11, 2020 at her home in Turbeville, South Carolina. Born in Clarendon County, Dr. Kate was one of five children of the late Dr. Charlie Dorn Smith, Sr. and the late Mrs. Effie Lucille Robinson Smith.
Dr. Kate graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1959 and the Medical College of South Carolina in 1963 as one of the only four women in her class. Following her training at Spartanburg General Hospital, Dr. Kate returned home to Turbeville with the intention of temporarily filling the vacancy left by the previous local physician before continuing her training in pediatric endocrinology. As fate would have it, she instead, spent the remainder of her life caring for the community, just as her father Dr. Charles Dorn Smith, Sr., did before her. Dr. Kate soon realized that she was living the dream intended for her “doctoring” the people in a community she belonged to and loved so much.
Dr. Kate was an avid Gamecock and Wolverine (East Clarendon) fan and could usually be found representing some form of University of South Carolina paraphernalia. When not attending Carolina or East Clarendon football, basketball, or baseball games, Dr. Kate focused her attention on her true passion: caring for others. She could often be found making house calls using her father’s original medicine bag or treating patients in the aisles of local stores during her frequent shopping trips around Turbeville. Dr. Kate practiced medicine in Turbeville for nearly 60 years where she was affectionately became known as, simply, “The Doctor.”
Dr. Kate’s accomplishments were extensive. She was passionate about local and statewide organizations, and she held many leadership roles. Dr. Kate served on the Board of Directors for Clarendon County Commission of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Board of Trustees at Wofford College, was a Turbeville Town Council Member, Diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice, Life Member of the American Medical Association, Life Member and Fellow of The American Academy of Family Physicians, and team physician of the East Clarendon High School Football Team. In addition, she was widely recognized as a leader across the state, and she was awarded the Rural Health Association Pioneer Award (2007), Clarendon County Woman of the Year (2009), and The Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor (2018).
Dr. Kate is survived by her sister, Jean Smith Daniel of Raleigh, N. C., her nephew, Dr. Charlie Dorn Smith, III , (Debbie) of Turbeville, S. C. and their children, Constance Eleanor “Ellen” , Kate Elizabeth “Liz”, and Charlie Dorn, IV; her nephew, James W. C. Daniel, III, (Juliet) of Asheville, N. C., and their daughter Uma Sarah; her niece, Dixie Eleanor Smith Bullock of Columbia, and her son Lucius Harvin Bullock, Jr.; her nephew, Andrew Bethea Smith of Turbeville; her nephew, Robert Sidney Green Smith (Katherine) of Charleston, and their children Effie Robinson, Mary Motley, Ralston Eugene V, and Margaret Austin.
Dr. Kate was preceded in death by her brother, Charlie Dorn Smith, Jr., her sister Mary Ruth “Mic” Smith Green; her brother, Ralston Eugene Smith, II who died shortly after birth; and her nephew, Ralston Eugene Smith, IV, and her dearest friend Josephine “Jonnie” Calvert.
The family is very grateful for the care of Shirley “Dee” McFadden and Pam Kennedy, both lifelong friends, trusted advisors to The Doctor, and Smith family members just with a different last name. The family would also like to thank Jean Boykin for the love and care given to Dr. Kate throughout her life and especially in her final days; Ann Kirven and Sara Lynn Beaston for their sincere friendships; Felicia White, Joyce White Strickland, Bernie Blackmon, and the entire staff of the Chat N Chew as well as Mary Ashley Robinson, Becky Levine, and the entire staff of Becky’s Café for ensuring that The Doctor was always well fed and had her favorite meals delivered at any time of day.
The family will hold a private graveside service in the light of coronavirus pandemic. However, when it is safe to do so, the Smith family will host a memorial service to celebrate the life of Doctor Kate Smith. Dr. Kate will be buried at the St. James Cemetery located on the banks of Dr. Kate’s beloved Burnt Branch.
Honorary Pallbearers are Barnie Lee Morris, Anne Lavender, Betty Coker, Nancy McFadden, Beverly McFadden, Beverly Jo Calvert Myers, Kim Bell Calvert Troutman, Stephen Dukes; Members of Dr. Kate’s Office Staff; Members of the Turbeville Ruritan Club; and Members of Pine Grove United Methodist Church.