Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eli Anthony Highsmith went to heaven on December 12, 2009 at 2:35 a.m. in his home in Leesville after a
short illness of lung cancer and brain cancer at the age of 78. He is survived by his wife of 51 years Elisabeth Highsmith, his daughter Ellenor (Ellie) and her husband Tyler Mikeska, and his granddaughter Kimberly (Niki) Mikeska from Spring,
Eli was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. He never caused anyone any harm and went out of his way to help others with anything mechanical that he could repair. He loved gardening and always had a beautiful yard and
small vegetable garden.
He was a quiet man who loved his family, country, fishing, and being outdoors. He loved to “tinker” with his Volkswagens and those who knew him always saw him in his coveralls covered in grease or a fishing pole
in his hand. He enjoyed feeding his birds on the outside and had quite a few bird feeders which he kept filled. Of course the by-product of this was watching the squirrels try to tear up his feeders. In addition to the outside birds, he loved his
Kiki and Jamie, his two parakeets.
In the late 70’s he fell in love with Volkswagen vans. He kept buying them until he had three of them to “tinker” with and work on. In the midst of this he found a good friend that shared his love of
Volkswagens… He and Billy (his friend) would go all over the country to bring back a VW to rebuild. Always a mechanic, he was never happier than when he was trying to figure out a problem with an engine. From tearing one down to rebuilding one, he
loved his cars.
Eli was a proud Veteran of Vietnam (twice) and loved his country dearly. He retired from the Army in 1977 at the rank of SFC (E-7) after nearly 23 years of active duty in the Army, in addition to seven years in the
National Guard. He won numerous medals including: the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze and one silver star; the Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device; the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with bronze star; Expert
Marksmanship Award (M-16); numerous Good Conduct Medals; four Overseas Service Bars; a Parachutist Badge; a Combat Infantry Badge; a Valorous Unit Award; nine Service Stripes; an Expert Marksmanship Award (M-14); and other awards and
One of twelve children, Eli was born on April 17, 1931 in Waycross, Ga. to the late John Reyma and Zillie Ocilla Thrift Highsmith. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers John Edmond and Harvey Highsmith, his
brother-in-law James Perry Butler and his sister-in-law Patricia Highsmith.
His surviving brothers and sisters include Florenz Harold Highsmith (wife, Betty Carol), Winston Cecil Highsmith (wife, Geneva), Issac Wesley Highsmith (wife,
Carol) and Russell Lesley Highsmith (wife, Myrtie) all of Waycross, Ga.; Josephine Jolley (husband, William “Bill”) of Brunswick, Ga.; Myrna Sullivan (husband, Harold “Haukland”) of Hampton, Ga.; Lyndall Howard and Lavern Butler of Waynesville, Ga.;
his cousin raised as a brother, Ronnie Thrift (wife, Janice) of Waycross, Ga.; Michael David Highsmith (wife, Cindy) of Panama City, Fla.; and his sister-in-law Vertie Lee Highsmith of Waycross, Ga. He also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews
and other members of the family.
Eli was loved and will be greatly missed by all, and we will miss all of the little things that made him who he was.
A memorial web site is set up for those that want to contribute to
telling his life story. Please visit and light a candle and leave your thoughts, prayers, anecdotes and pictures if you have any. You can upload any picture you might have or update his time-line with things we may not have known or tell any stories
about him… the link is: http://eli-highsmith.memory-of.com/.
Funeral services for Eli will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, December 14, in the Labby Memorial
Funeral Home Chapel in Leesville. Friends may call from 10 a.m. Monday until service time in the funeral home.