A supportive wife of an Air Force lieutenant colonel, Lillian Smoak tended to the homefront, including an iconic Augusta bakery and her son while her husband served the country. Smoak, 86, died Saturday.
Smoak’s Bakery and Catering Inc. became a beloved business in part because of her dedicated behind-the-scenes work with catering services. David Smoak said his mother and father, Daniel Smoak, worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week.
“A lot of times they would meet each other at the door. Mother was leaving from the late-night catering business, and he was coming in to get the bakery started in the morning,” David Smoak said.
Smoak’s Bakery closed its Walton Way store in 2004 after 73 years of business. Daniel Smoak died Nov. 13, 2009.
“The quality of product and catering service was a source of pride to her,” David Smoak said.
The bakery earned 25 “Best of Augusta” awards from Augusta Magazine, an award that thrilled his mother, David Smoak said.
Lillian didn’t socialize at the front counter much after she had a fair-share of entertaining during the couple’s time at Air Force bases overseas. During her husband’s two assignments in Paraguay, she planned parties for military ambassadors. She stayed to work at the Augusta bakery during his tour to Korea, and once baked a cake for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“She was a top-notch cake decorator, too, so when the need was called on, she went up front to decorate,” her son said.
Smoak suffered a stroke seven years ago and her health recently deteriorated.