OBITUARY: Howell ‘Poppy’ Stennis Smith


Howell “Poppy” Stennis Smith was surrounded by his adoring family when he left this world to join his heavenly Father on March 11, 2023.

Stennis was a very loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and friend. With a quick wit and his dry sense of humor, he was a legend in the advertising world. Stennis was a creative genius and through the years he wrote commercials and jingles for many local and national businesses.

Stennis had many friends. He was an avid boater, enjoyed playing golf, loved everything Vandy, but loved his family the most! He was married to his high school sweetheart, Paula Easley Smith, for almost 64 years. They shared a wonderful life including 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They always lived locally but enjoyed many worldly travels, as well as a lot of “Big Chill” fun at the beach.

He was born to H.S. Smith & Juanita Smith on April 12, 1937 in Shreveport, LA. He graduated from Issac Litton High School in Nashville, TN (Class of 1955). He received a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Vanderbilt University in 1959. At Vanderbilt, he was on a full scholarship to play football as quarterback.

After college, he started in sales & marketing at Channel 5 (WTVF) in Nashville, TN. He later went on to become a founding partner of Smith & Sellers Advertising Agency with his partner Stan Sellers. They rocked the advertising world for over 20 years. After Stan’s unfortunate death, Stennis formed a partnership with his son, Michael Smith to start The Smith Group. Stennis semi-retired in 2007 but he couldn’t stay away from the ad world and started “The Other Side of Sports” with his friend Hope Hines for 8 years.

Stennis is preceded in death by his father H.S. Smith, his mother Juanita Smith, and his granddaughters Lauren Agee and Sarah Goodman.

He is survived by his wife Paula Easley Smith, children – Kelley Smith Goodman, Michael S. Smith (Sherry), & Julie Smith Carr (Greg), sister – Karen Knox (Sonny), grandchildren – Lily Goodman Jones (Marshall), Chloe Goodman & Joseph Goodman, Josh Smith, Jordan Smith, Alexandra Carr Funk (Brandon), Tanner Carr, Nicholas Carr (Ashlye) and great-grandson Liam Carr.

A funeral service is scheduled for 3 pm on March 20, 2023 at First United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, TN. Visitation will be in the church 12-3 pm before the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: If people would like to send a check, they can mail it to: Mission Discovery, 1509 Hunt Club Blvd. #1200, Gallatin, Tn. 37066

Austin & Bell Funeral Home in Springfield is in charge of these arrangements.



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