Jerry M. Smyre

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mr. Jerry Mell Smyre, age 86, a resident of Chocowinity, died Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, at his home surrounded by family.

Jerry was born in Greensboro on July 22, 1932. He was the son of the late Vernon Patterson, Irene Hicks Smyre and StepFather William F. Smyre. He graduated from Greensboro High School, received his B. A. degree from Elon College and Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York.

His life was defined by family, music and service to others.

As a highly sought after tenor soloist, his beautiful voice touched the hearts and souls of countless people over his 50-year career. He sang in concert halls, theatres and churches around the world, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

His repertoire spanned classical to contemporary including hundreds of productions of the “Messiah.”

Mr. Smyre was the choirmaster and conductor for many churches in New Jersey and North Carolina.

He served Guilford College in Greensboro as a professor of music and was a founding member of the Eastern Music Festival, which continues to this day.

Later, Mr. Smyre taught music at Montclair High School in New Jersey. While there, he led in the founding of the High School for the Performing Arts, where he headed the music faculty. Over the years, he stayed in touch with his beloved students, many of whom have established successful careers in theatre, music, television and film.

In 1995, Jerry and his wife Nannette returned to North Carolina. They were among the first families in Cypress Landing and were active in serving that new and growing community. Jerry was the first homeowner to serve on the board of Cypress Landing.

He was also active in serving the larger community.

Soon after moving here, he became inspired with a vision of a revitalized Turnage Theatre in Washington. He dedicated countless hours and was instrumental in bringing the grand space back to life.

Jerry also had a love of the sea and was often found hosting friends and family on his beloved boat, “Amadeus.”

Most of all, Jerry was loved by all he touched for his humor, warmth and huge heart. There was no better friend in the world than Jerry.

Jerry is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nannette. Also surviving are his two daughters, Kathy Meth, of Chocowinity, and Anna Cave of Florham Park, New Jersy, son-in-law Bryan Cave, and two grandchildren, Hayley Meth and Benjamin Cave.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Betsy Bailey Animal Shelter, 3931 Highway 264 East, Washington, NC or Beaufort County Arts Council, P. O. Box 634, Washington, NC 27889.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington, conducted by Rev. Don Wiesner.

Online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting

Paul Funeral Home & Crematory in Washington is honored to serve the Smyre family.