beloved by family and friends; writer, publisher, producer, and renowned collector of Western movies and artifacts; possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood movie and Nashville music history—died following a brief illness in Nashville on Monday, December 17, at the age of 77.
Packy, born to Blanton and Izora Widener Smith on September 28, 1941, grew up in the Nashville suburb of Inglewood. He attended Montgomery Bell Academy and Western Kentucky University, where he received a BA and Master’s degree in library science.
An early interest led to a lifelong career collecting, selling, and analyzing Western movies and music. He authored numerous scholarly articles; wrote, co-wrote, produced, and edited books including Hopalong Cassidy and 30 Years on the Road with Gene Autry; and launched Riverwood Press, publishing the work of others in the field.
Packy co-founded the Western Film Festival and more recently the Lone Pine Film Festival, where he was instrumental in obtaining guests and procuring rare movies shown at events over the last three decades. He served on the board of directors of the Museum of Western Film History, also in Lone Pine, and co-produced a season of the Roy Rogers “Happy Trails Theatre” television show for the Nashville Network.
Packy’s enthusiasm for the Western—not only in films but in art, books, and music—was unlimited, and it informed just about everything he did professionally for many years. Packy not only loved Westerns; he loved people who love Westerns, and he happily shared his enthusiasm with family members young and old. His passing leaves behind a veritable legion of heartbroken friends and colleagues, who remember his dry sense of humor, boundless curiosity, and big heart. He will be missed more than we can possibly say.
Packy is survived by his wife Cathleen Crank Cagney Smith; children Tony (Sherry), Jeff, Cathy Sloman (Chris), and Izora Druckenmiller (Dan); stepchildren Kim Hale and John Cagney (Sheryl); siblings Blanton Smith Jr. (Nancy) and Judy Baker Tuttle (Stan); and ten loving grandchildren. He was predeceased by siblings Robert Pippin, Bette Pippin Thomasson, and Gloria Pippin Boyd.
A Celebration of Life will be held on January 12, 2019, at The Pavilion at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens at 11:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to Alive Hospice, Museum of Western Film History, the Democratic Party, or your favorite charity.