Byther Smith, 89, peacefully stepped out of this earthly life and into eternal life on Sept. 10, 2021, at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago, Ill.
Chicago’s Blues Legend Byther Smith was a native of Jayess and was born in Monticello on April 17, 1932. Graveside service will be held at Salem M.B. Church, 333 Price Rd., Jayess (due to COVID-19).
Pastor Edward Herron will officiate. Funeral arrangements will be held by Washington Funeral Home, 714 Second St., Tylertown.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Claude Smith and Ellen Lee Lenoir Smith; his wife, Etta Mae Smith; five brothers; and three sisters.
He leaves to cherish his six daughters, Alma Kershaw, of California; Bonny Gordon, Annie Williams, Delbra Taylor, Aldora Clay, and Patrice Guest, all of Illinois; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, friends, and fans.
Byther Smith, the Mississippi – born artist, started his gift of music in gospel. As a young man, he traveled to various churches using his gift where needed. His interest moved to blues when he moved to Chicago in the late 1950s where his cousin J.B. Lenoir was living. He played in various bands as backup until he became serious about the business for himself. He’s played with some of the greatest well-known artists: Junior Wells, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, BB King, Jimmy Reed, Big Mama Thornton, and Buddy Guy. Byther would play locally in Chicago clubs, festivals, and universities while deferring his dream to provide for his family and to broaden the opportunities for his children. He was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2018 and became an honorary citizen of Monticello in 1997.