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Tommy Ronald Smathers
April 5, 1948 ~ October 25, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old
Mr. Tommy Ronald Smathers, “Mr. Gospel”, was born on April 5, 1948, to the late Will Smathers and Thomasina Lane, in Manhattan, New York. He was a 1967 graduate of Carver High School, in Spartanburg, SC.
Tommy attended Cecil’s Business College and obtained a business degree. He started his broadcasting career at WJKI Radio in Woodruff, SC. He also worked at WPJM Radio Station in Greer, SC. His career took off while at WASC 1530 in Spartanburg, SC and the city gave him his nickname, “Mr. Gospel”. He worked there from 1977 until 2000. Mr. Gospel had an outgoing personality and a voice made for the radio. He was a member of Steven Brown and the Gospel Crusaders, Gospel Prophets, and Gospel Keynotes. Tommy was the Master of Ceremony for many local and national gospel quartet groups throughout the years. He also earned the nickname, “Mr. Suit”, because he loved to dress to match the group for which he was the MC. Also, his favorite color was red.
He was a member of the First Worship Church and served on the Steward Board.
His life will continue to be honored by his loving wife, Julia Gilliam Johnson-Smathers of the home; son, Ivan Gilliam of Fairforest, SC; daughters, Kerry Gilliam of York, SC, Nigah Samantha Johnson (Donnie) Simpson of Rock Hill, SC; seven grandchildren; Rodrikus Simpson, Nytearia (Quinton) Williams, Austin L. Gilliam, Justin Gilliam, Makayla Gilliam, Lakerria Johnson and Lakeashia Johnson; three great-grandchildren, Elijah Simpson, Jonoah Simpson and Demi Davis; sisters-in-law, Mary Rogers, Loretta Gilliam, Sheila Gilliam, and Miranda Gilliam Johnson; brothers-in-law, Larry Gilliam and Carl (Lugenia) Gilliam; aunts; Jessie Mae Kelly and Georgia Jackson; very special friends, Rhonda Harris and Edward Waddell; and other relatives, friends and acquaintances.
Tommy was preceded in death, along with his parents, by Marie and Helen Kennly.
On Wednesday, October 25, 2023, Mr. Tommy Ronald Smathers peacefully transitioned. Memories of his voice will continue to echo and will be cherished by all who loved and knew him.