Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

A Life Honored

Posted November 20, 2007

George Smith would have been proud of his son, Chris Smith,  if he had been in the courtroom last week. 

Chris, an aspiring filmmaker, made a film about his father.  He blended the quirky, the poignant and the compassionate traits that made up his father into an entertaining  documentary -style  piece.  It had a cutting edge independent-film feel that made you laugh one moment and tear up the next. 

Chris let the silences breathe as friends and family paused to remember the best parts of his father. 

Did I mention that George Smith is dead?  The film was a tribute that was played at the sentencing of the drunken driver who killed George Smith.

It sounds morose, but it was anything but.  Not having known George Smith personally, I walked away wishing I had. 

His friends described him as "wickedly funny and irreverent."  They also talked about the kindness he would extend to anyone in need, a kindness he undertook quietly with no desire for recognition.  When a friend's house burned down, he was there.  He arrived with a carload of anything his friend might need to get back on his feet.

But the best part of the film was what Chris Smith learned about his father. 

He said that, as a son you, know one side of your parent. But through creating the film, he learned much more.  He learned that many people referred to George Smith as their "best friend." 

In a world where friends are hard to come by, Chris was impressed with the deep impression his father had on the people he loved and who loved him.  He learned about the things George Smith did for others, things he never talked about.  He learned that his father was one heck of a guy.

Chris Smith and his family have, no doubt, suffered a great loss. But somehow, he was able to use his talents to capture the essence of his father in a way that truly honors his life.  From what I've learned about George Smith, I'm positive he would be proud.

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.