It was days after the death of his wife, Beverly Smock, when East County Bill Smock was browsing hundreds of sympathetic Facebook posts.
Many of these messages were on the same theme.
“They were like, ‘The first person I met at the Builders Association was Beverly… she made me feel loved,” said Bill Smock. “It was a common thread.”
The impact of Beverly Smock, who died September 13 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital from the Delta variant of COVID-19, was undeniable when it came to the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association.
Rebecca Queen, the events and communications director at MSBIA for the past four years, said Beverly Smock made her a better person.
“It’s not the easiest thing for single moms with little experience to have career opportunities, but like me, Bev had gone this route and she gave me a chance. didn’t take long to develop a quick bond. She was a good resource when everything in my life was failing. She was one of the first phone calls or texts when I needed to let off steam and we always had a good laugh at the chaos that seems to follow me everywhere I go. “
Queen said that after her twins were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Beverly Smock told her she would support her every step of the way. She has stayed true to her word, rearranging Queen’s schedule so that she can work from home or go to doctor’s appointments or her children’s hospitalization.
“Bev knew everything about me – the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly,” Queen said. “She witnessed my weakest times and was by my side in my most successful times. She loved with all her heart and never judged. She was also the keeper of my safety pins, Advil and other weird stuff, because if you know me, I always lose the most random stuff. Thanks Bev, for loving me like yours. “
Bill Smock has heard similar stories countless times after 31 years of marriage.
“Everything she did, she did with love and kindness,” said Bill Smock. “And no matter what she did, she wanted to be the best at it. She cared and she called herself an A-plus-plus-plus type person.”
Beverly Smock was working for a temp agency in 1994 when she landed a job as a receptionist at what was then the Home Builder‘s Association on Main Street in Bradenton. She quickly rose through the ranks, becoming what her husband called “the top manager’s right hand.”
Eventually, she received the title of Deputy Executive Director. She used to tell her coworkers that she was the only one in the office who could carry a gun because she was the assistant.
The Home Builder‘s Association has evolved into the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association and has gone through 15 executive directors over its 27 years, often acting as an interim executive director between them.
“She had a list in her drawer,” Bill Smock said. “She used to threaten whoever was the executive director at the time,” Don’t make me write your name on this paper. “
Jon Mast has been an executive director for the past seven years, and he has heard the threat.
“I hope she thought I was her best boss ever,” Mast said. “Because she was my best employee ever.”
Mast said Beverly Smock had never been a stranger and made people feel “comfortable and important.”
“She was called a princess because Bill always treated her like a princess.”
Bill Smock laughs when he tells the story of meeting his future wife at a Tampa bar when he was 20. He was participating in a weekend training exercise with the United States Marine Corps Reserves and he decided to use fake ID for the first time when he stepped out that evening.
“She was across the room and we made eye contact,” he said. “She said to her friend, ‘I have my dance partner for the night.’
“I call it fate as much as it is the will of God. It was the only way to get us on each other’s path.”
Less than a year later, they were married. She was 11 years older than her husband, but Bill Smock said, “It just worked.”
During their honeymoon in the Bahamas, Bill Smock discovered that he would be deployed to Saudi Arabia and later to Kuwait. He knew a FOX News correspondent who was assigned to his base, so he was pushing his way through video clips in hopes his wife would see him.
“If you had family they would watch the news,” he said.
After six months he was home and they lived their lives, moving to Bradenton in 1991. Owner of Gator Plumbing and Gator Construction, Bill Smock has been a member of the MSBIA Board of Directors for over 20 years. .
“The association is our world,” he said. “We talked about county commissioners, state officials, our senators. We went to fundraisers and we stayed involved in everything. Our best friends were builders. Our vacations were conventions. The reality is that we have lived and breathed the association. “
After a builders’ convention in Orlando in July, Bill and Beverly Smock tested positive for COVID.
“She had a fever for a few days, then she was fine from day 3 to day 9,” he said. “I lost 15 pounds and was exhausted. I lost my sense of smell and my fever increased. But on the 10th day, she woke up and said, ‘I can’t breathe.'”
Beverly Smock went to the hospital on August 2 and on August 4 was placed on a ventilator. For the next month and a half, Bill Smock could barely see his wife due to COVID protocols. On September 13, she passed away.
“God gives us a certain number of days,” he said. When these are done, you are done.
“But there are a lot of things we couldn’t do.”
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