Robert Stephen Best

    Birth Date: 11/26/1951
    Deceased Date: 01/23/2023

    Robert “Steve” Best, age 71, of Smithfield passed away on January 23, 2023 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill surrounded by his wife and nephew following a hard fought battle with bladder cancer. Born in Smithfield, NC on November 26, 1951, he was the son of the late James Robert and Clara Daughtry Best. He was also preceded in death by his son, Stephen “Josh” Best and his brother James Howard Best.

    Steve grew up in Brogden, right outside of Smithfield, and graduated from Princeton High School (Class of 1970). As a senior he began working part time at D & D Body Shop in Smithfield. He completed a course in Auto Body Repair and became owner/operator of the business in 1982. Prior to that he served two years in the United States Army and completed a tour of duty in Korea. He was a member of Sardis Baptist Church near Smithfield.

    Steve married his high school sweetheart (Janie Massengill) on October 8, 1971. They have been married for 51 years. While opposites attract, Steve and Janie were the perfect pair and only grew closer as time went on. Steve loved hunting, fishing and being in the outdoors just hanging out at the river. He loved nothing more than going to turkey shoots around the holidays and showing off his love of guns and shooting. Steve also loved playing music with some of the Brogden boys. He played guitar, mandolin and banjo. There were weekly jam sessions in his man cave and great food to enjoy as well as a game of pool and cards. Additionally, he loved tractors and prepared gardens in the community for spring planting. He loved cars and racing them; thus the nickname “Racer Brown”.

    Steve was genuinely a good man and would give you the shirt off his back. He could fix anything that was broken whether it was a car, truck, lawnmower golf cart, 4-wheeler, etc. He was creative and made beautiful knives out of old saws with wooden handles. Steve crafted beautiful chopping blocks and matching cleavers. He could build pig cookers from scratch. He also sandblasted and welded. He was truly a jack-of-all-trades and loved by all who met him.

    The family will receive friends at the chapel Parrish Funeral Home in Selma on Thursday evening from 6:30 – 7:30 with funeral services immediately following the visitation at 7:30. A graveside committal service will be held at Sardis Baptist Church cemetery on Friday at 11 am.

    Surviving, in addition to his wife Janie are a nephew, Bryan Daughtry and wife Dee Dee, and great nephews Bryan “Russ” Daughtry, Jr. and wife Melissa, Owen Daughtry and Michael Daughtry.

    Condolences may be sent to the family at

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