Ronald W. Smith Sr., 85

Ronald W. Smith Sr., 85, of South Bethany, Del., passed away suddenly on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at Christiana Hospital. A native of Wilmington, Del., Smith grew up in the city, the son of John and Marion Smith, and grandson of Daniel and Bertha Smith, with many dearly loved aunts, uncles and cousins.

He married his high school sweetheart, Florence Shaw, and enjoyed 64 years of love and life with her.

Smith attended the University of Delaware, where he continued on to earn a master’s degree in plant pathology and entomology. He was the owner and landscape designer of his own business, Phillips Nurseries, until retiring in 2001. His designed for beautified homes and businesses throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania.

After retiring to South Bethany, Smith continued to enjoy sports. He loved basketball, tennis, squash and biking. His hobbies included Old Radio, “Straight Ahead” jazz and gardening. He had many treasured friends, humor and wisdom. He participated in the Meals on Wheels program and read to the blind at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, where he attended daily Mass.

Smith was the beloved husband of Florence V. Smith; loving father of Ronald W. Smith Jr. and his wife, Marcie, of Aston, Pa., Susan J. Alavi and her husband, Victor, of Duncan, S.C., and Christopher L. Smith of Glen Mills, Pa.; and beloved grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of nine.

A visitation was scheduled for 10 a.m., with Mass at 11 a.m., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 691 Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach, Del. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are welcome to the Little Sister of the Poor; 185 Salem Church Rd.; Newark, DE 19713, or to Robert Shaw Memorial Scholarship; ASHE Delaware Valley Section; P.O. Box 61745; King of Prussia, PA 19406. Condolences may be sent online at