Former KNOE employee Ansel Smith dies at 86 - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Former KNOE employee Ansel Smith dies at 86

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Ansel Harris Smith, Sr., a longtime former KNOE employee passed away Monday, after a lengthy illness. He was 86 years old.

Ansel was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on January 25, 1928. In June of 1938, the Smith family moved to Monroe. Ansel attended grade school at Georgia Tucker and graduated from Neville High School in June, 1944. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946, was assigned to the Army Forces of the Western Pacific, and was permanently stationed in Manila, Philippines. After leaving active duty in 1947, Ansel continued serving in the U.S. Army Reserve and was discharged in 1956 with the rank of Master Sergeant. He studied at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. Ansel was hired by Governor James A. Noe in 1953 as Operations Manager of KNOE–TV. He served in various production roles with “the Station” until his retirement after 42 years in 1995. Ansel was a member of Temple B’nai Israel for 76 years and was highly respected within Monroe’s Jewish community.

Known to many as “Big A” but to only one as “Honey”, Ansel was a funny, thoughtful, tender-hearted Southern gentleman and a loving husband, father and friend. Big A was a sterling role model to his children and grandchildren. He provided a standard of what integrity and character look like. His wife Cecile was the love of his life. Introduced to Cecile by his sister Minette just before Thanksgiving in 1960, Ansel and Cecile dated for only a few months before marrying in April of 1961. He was a loving, attentive husband to the very end of his life and showed Cecile daily through his words and deeds how much he loved her. Ansel had a lifelong love of music, specifically classical and Big Band. Beginning in high school, he played trombone in various bands in and around Monroe. Ansel’s other passion was military history, specifically World War II and the Pacific theatre. He poured through volumes and volumes of material over the course of his adulthood and could speak effortlessly of the leaders, battles and weaponry of the War in the Pacific.

Ansel’s charm and sense of humor were known well to his circle of family and friends. He could always be counted on for a classy toast or speech full of fun. He will be remembered for his often acerbic and highly intelligent wit that was endlessly entertaining. He could be extremely direct, especially with his children and grandchildren, but never mean. You wouldn’t know from looking at photos that Big A had such a keen sense of humor; he hated a camera, and most photos of him show a depression-era sternness that was nothing like the man we all adored.

Ansel was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Minna Smith; and his brother, Louis Smith. He is survived by his wife of 53 years Cecile Smith; his children Karen Kirby and Ansel Smith, Jr.; his daughter-in-law Julie Smith; his grandchildren Sam Kirby, Emma Kirby, Ansel Smith, III and Emilie Smith; his sister Minette Saber; his sister-in-law Barbara Rose; Sister-in-law Charlene Smith and nieces and nephews on the Smith and Rose branches of our family tree.

We would like to acknowledge the service of the many dedicated caregivers who helped allow Big A’s final months to be spent in the comfort of his home. We cannot begin to express the depth of our gratitude to you for the kindness, generosity and patience you showed him and us.

Ansel’s wishes were to leave his body to the Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport. A memorial service will be held at Mulhearn Funeral Home on Sterlington Road in Monroe on Friday, May 23, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Temple B’nai Israel Torah Fund or Louisiana State University Medical School.

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