Mentor to thousands of Mid-South children passes away - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mentor to thousands of Mid-South children passes away

Bernal Smith Bernal Smith

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Bernal Smith, Sr., the Senior Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of Memphis, as passed away.

For more than 40 years, Smith reached out to thousands of children, not only in the Mid-South, but around the country.  Vincent Borello, who knew Smith for 25 years, called him a patriarch who touched a lot of lives.

"Bernal was a father figure to many of the children that came in contact with him," Borello said. "He was a larger than life guy."

Smith, 66, passed away after a two year battle with colon cancer.  Those who worked closely with Smith called him a great mentor.

"What he taught the kids was that a diploma was a very powerful thing," Borello said. "To get your diploma from high school and college, and that piece of paper is going to be power."

Smith was not only dedicated and committed to serving the youth in the community, but was also an advocate.

"Bernal was a huge advocate for bringing girls in," Borello said. "Bernal has done trainings on how to deal with kids and how to discipline kids in a positive way."

Borello called Smith an icon who will be missed by many.

"The city has lost a hero and a fan of this city, because he took a lot of pride in this city," he said.

Visitation for Bernal Smith will be held Friday from 6pm to 8pm at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, located at 620 Park Rose Avenue.  The funeral will be held at the same location on Saturday at 11am.

In lieu of flowers, family members are asking members of the public to make a donation to the Boys & Girl's Club of Greater Memphis.

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