“He was like a father to me” and “I’ve known him since I was six years old and he would say ‘hop up in this truck’…”
These are just a few of the remarks we heard from friends and customers when our founder, Robert E. Lee “Bob” Smith, Jr. passed away on January 7, 2021 at the age of 85. He was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Shirley A. Dovell.
Called Bird Dog by his friends, Bob will always be remembered for his love and generosity, compassion for animals, and his unwavering pursuit of a deal. Always philanthropic, Bob was also well known for his generosity to Montgomery General Hospital, the Montgomery County Humane Society, Sandy Spring Museum and other community organizations.
An accomplished entrepreneur, Bob and his wife founded RELS, Inc. on property purchased in 1935 by his late parents, Robert E. L. and Marie Smith, Sr. Although Bob sold RELS when he and Shirley retired, he continued to spend time at the company – or, as he would say, “up the farm,” until he was no longer able to do so. Bob considered himself blessed to have a group of dedicated caregivers who helped the family honor his wishes to remain at home throughout his illness and right up until his last days.
A member of the Farmers’ Club in Sandy Spring, Bob also served on the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair Board for many seasons. Many fondly remember seeing him driving around the fairgrounds during the annual fair in his golf cart, checking on events and saying hello to as many people as he could.
Bob is survived by his loving family, many friends, and all of us at the RELS family who will never forget his kindness, generosity, and humor.
A private interment is planned and a memorial service will be announced after the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.