Community gathers to remember Mitchell Hardware owner Greg Smith

Published: Jan. 29, 2018 at 11:03 AM EST
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As football fans spent the day preparing for the Super Bowl, many people in the City of New Bern spent Sunday afternoon saying goodbye to a man loved by their community.

The skies over New Bern seemed to weep as people arrived at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center for Greg Smith's funeral.

The owner of Mitchell Hardware store on Craven Street died Monday morning.

Friends say the 62-year-old died from a massive heart attack.

"Kindness, joyful, happy, smiley, all those words described the wonderful person that he was," New Bern Alderman Sabrina Bengel said.

A memorial with flowers sits on a table ouside Mitchell Hardware. Several people stopped by the store before the funeral to remember the man they called Mr. New Bern.

"He was the greatest ambassador and the greatest champion for New Bern that I think this city has had in recent memory," Cotten Funeral Home Manager Rex Bennet said.

Smith chaired the city's Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, and supported local charities and events.

"He put his heart and soul into his business into his family and into this community," Bengel said. "Our city will go on. He'd want it to be that way."

The people at Sunday's service say they hope the community moves forward by emulating Smith and his passion to always work a little harder and serve people a little better.

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A downtown New Bern leader has suddenly passed away.

Mitchell Hardware says owner Greg Smith died this morning.

Friends say the 62-year-old died from a massive heart attack.

"Mitchell Hardware was his heart and soul," the store said in a statement. "He was here before the sun came up and, often times, until long after sunset. He never took a day off, and looked after the employees as if we were his own."

Mitchell Hardware will remain closed today and the family is in the process of making funeral arrangements.