CORNELIA - Before any business was conducted at Tuesday night's Cornelia City Commission meeting, Mayor J.C. Irby paused to pay tribute to former Cornelia Police Capt. J.L. Smith, who died early Tuesday.
"I'd like to offer tribute to one of the citizens of Cornelia - a long-term employee and a dedicated person," Irby said.
Smith followed in his father's footsteps, serving his community through law enforcement.
"His career began in 1974 as a patrol officer," Irby said. "Growing up in Cornelia, he knew most of the citizens in the community. He was able to deal with situations with care and concern, and had the respect of most everyone in the county."
Smith worked for Cornelia for nearly three decades.
"J.L. worked his way through the ranks during his 28-year tenure," Irby said. "In 2002, upon his retirement, he had reached the rank of captain. Even though he retired, Smith loved the people of Habersham County. He was a great influence on all."
Funeral services for Smith will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at the chapel of McGahee-Griffin and Stewart Funeral Home in Cornelia. Burial, with full law enforcement and military honors, will follow in the Good News Baptist Church Cemetery in Cornelia.