Christian 12

Robert Earl Smith

April 6, 1936 ~ January 31, 2024 (age 87) 87 Years Old


Robert Earl “Bob” Smith, 87, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2024, after a brief illness at Transitions LifeCare Hospice Home in Raleigh.

He was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Angier, NC where he developed characteristics that served him well throughout his life – a hard work ethic, a love of God and a love of family.

Bob graduated from Campbell College and then attended NC State University. While in Raleigh, he met the love of his life, a young nursing student, Barbara Ann Rigsbee (Bobbie), and they married in 1958. They shared a wonderful 62 years of marriage before her passing in 2019.

Soon after they were married, Bob was drafted into the Army and was stationed in Minneapolis, MN. Upon his completion of service in 1961, they returned to Durham, NC and joined the family tire business, Rigsbee Tire Sales, where he oversaw wholesale operations.

While at Rigsbee Tire, Bob served the NC Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association as an active board member and as president in 1982. He also served on the Hercules Tire & Rubber Dealer Council, the Toyo Tire Dealer Council and the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association, the forebear of the Tire Industry Association of today.

In 1984, Bob became the executive vice president of the NCTDRA where he strengthened the board, added more educational opportunities, gave a stronger legislative voice to tire dealers and constantly increased value-driven benefits for members. Bobbie worked alongside him helping with bookkeeping, event planning and ladies’ programs. They retired in 2005 and enjoyed living at Kure Beach and worshipping at First Baptist Church Wilmington.

After leaving active service in 1961, Bob continued his military service through the Army Reserves where he received three meritorious service commendations. He retired in 1986 as Command Sergeant Major, the highest rank for enlisted personnel.

Bob was the original “girl dad.” He loved and supported his daughters, Bambi Berger and Barbi Jones in everything they enjoyed and was always their biggest fan. He is survived and cherished by his daughters, sons-in-law, Randy Berger and Craig Jones, grandsons Trent Jones and Brooks Jones and his granddaughter-in-law, Ashley Jones.

A celebration of Bob’s life will be Sunday, February 11, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at Wake Forest Baptist Church. The family invites you to join them for visitation and a reception following the service in the church fellowship hall.

Bob’s ashes will be interred with Bobbie’s at First Baptist Church Wilmington’s columbarium at a later date.

Bright Funeral Home in Wake Forest, NC is serving the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider donations to Wake Forest Baptist Church (, Transitions LifeCare ( or Tri-Area Ministry (, all organizations that were important to Bob.

Arrangements in the care of Bright Funeral Home, 405 S Main St, Wake Forest, NC 27587. (919-556-5811)


Celebration of Life
February 11, 2024

2:00 PM
Wake Forest Baptist Church
107 E. South Avenue
Wake Forest, NC 27587

February 11, 2024

3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Wake Forest Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
107 E. South Avenue
Wake Forest, NC 27587


First Baptist Church
411 Market St.
Wilmington, NC 28401


© 2024 Bright Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy