Dr. Steven M. Smith

July 26, 1954 ~ November 4, 2021 (age 67)


Dr. Steven Maurice Smith passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on November 4, 2021. He was born in Oak Ridge, TN on July 26, 1954. He graduated from Red Bank High School in 1972 and attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he received a B.S. in 1975. Steve received an O.D. from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN in 1979. Upon graduation, he opened Pearle Vision Center franchises in the Knoxville area. Later in his career, he purchased the LensCrafters franchise in West Town Mall. Steve was highly respected by his colleagues, patients, and professional affiliates throughout his 41-year career.

Steve contributed generously to various nonprofit organizations and devoted countless hours of volunteer work to support their missions. He was a proud board member of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum and the Clarence Brown Theater Advisory Board. Additionally, he served on the boards of AIDS Response Knoxville, Flying Anvil Theatre, and the East Tennessee Community Design Center. A fitness enthusiast, he also served as an instructor with Operation Boot Camp Knoxville for almost 10 years.

He married the love of his life, Donald Thorne, in Greece on the Isle of Hydra in 1993. Steve and Donald travelled extensively around the world with friends and family including East Africa, Egypt, the Galapagos, the Baltic Sea and one of his favorite cities – Barcelona. Above all, he enjoyed cruising on the open seas.

Steve is preceded in death by his father Mr. Clyde Smith, his grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Harold Black, Mr. and Mrs. Doc Stephens, and Mr. Bryan Smith; his uncle James B. Smith, cousin William (Bo) Bryan Smith, and his father and mother-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Eric Thorne. He is survived by his husband Mr. Donald Thorne, mother Mrs. Mary Smith, sister Mrs. Sandy Babb (Sam), brothers-in-law Mr. Spencer Thorne and Mr. Chris Thorne (Sue); nieces Lindsay Childress, Kara Brown (Jason), Margo Thorne, and Kristin Boykov (Anguel); great-nieces Madison and Reagan Childress, and great-nephews Jackson and William Brown. He is also survived by his aunts Mrs. Martha Smith, Ms. Betty Black (Greg), and uncle Mr. Tommy Black (Sheila); as well as his first cousins Leslie, Faye (John), Craig, Robin (Alberto), Justin, Charles (Vanessa) and their families. Steve also leaves behind countless precious friends that he loved so very much.

A celebration of life will be held from 4:00 - 6:30pm on Saturday, November 20, 2021, at the Dogwood Center of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, 2743 Wimpole Avenue, Knoxville, TN 27996. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made in Steve’s honor to the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, or to the Clarence Brown Theater Artists’ Endowment Fund, Attn: Development, 206 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996.

Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Smith family and invites you to view and sign the online registry. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Steven, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life Gathering
November 20, 2021

4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Knoxville Botanical Garden, Dogwood Center, Knoxville

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