Rodney Smith, Class Of ’54


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Rodney (Rod) Smith, 87, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, died Saturday May 13, 2023.

He was born in Verona in 1936, the son of Gerald and Dorothy (Armitage) Smith. Known for his athleticism, he played varsity football, basketball, and baseball at Verona High School. As quarterback, he led the football team to the State Championship victory in 1952. This team was later inducted into the Verona High School Hall of Fame. He graduated from Verona High School in 1954 and moved to Point Pleasant.

After high school, he served in the U.S. Army and played basketball and baseball for the Regiment Service Teams. Returning to his home in Point Pleasant, he married his beloved Janet, on October 11, 1958. They were married for 64 years, raising their family in Point Pleasant, where Rod was a vice president at Ocean County National Bank (later known as Ocean National, and then Summit) for over 30 years. He took great pride in helping the local community achieve their goals, whether it be a car loan, purchasing a home or starting a business.

His love of sports led him to coach youth athletic programs, most notably as head coach for the Golden Elks Pop Warner Football team throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was universally regarded as a memorable coach and an impeccable role model.

Rod was an avid golfer and belonged to Manasquan River Golf Club for 23 years. After he retired, he and Janet lived in Florida and North Carolina, where he enjoyed playing golf daily. He had eight holes in one during his lifetime. Rod and Janet moved back to Point Pleasant in 2009, where they became members of Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church.
The mentor of the family, Rod always encouraged and inspired his children and grandchildren to strive for their personal best – he was their biggest cheerleader.

Rod is survived by his loving wife Janet (Mason), his children Stephen Smith and his wife Sue of Oak Island, North Caroline, Janet Davies and former husband Dan Davies of Wall, New Jersey, and Debbie Valente and her husband Bob of Point Pleasant; six grandchildren, Kyle Smith (Megan), Corey Smith (Hanna), Colleen Phillips (Wriston), Kelly Boag (James), Robert Valente and Olivia Valente, and six great grandchildren, Shayleigh, Asher, Juniper, and Azariah Smith, and Brielle and Lilah Phillips.

Rod was predeceased by his sister Carol Grauer and her husband Fred, and his brother Wesley Smith and his wife Mary.

A funeral service was held Friday on June 2 at Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church. Donations in Rod’s memory may be made to the Point Pleasant Foundation for Excellence in Education, PO Box 3171, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742. To send condolences to the family please visit

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