Esther “Lois” Smith, age 69, of Chesterfield, VA passed away on Friday, September 10, 2021 at Johnston Willis Hospital, just one day after her 69th birthday.
On September 9, 1952, Lois was born in a small town called Bassett in Henry County, VA to her parents, Benjamin and Ailene Smith. Lois grew up with her two sisters, Davilla (Villa) Wooten and Aubretta (Brett) Seward, who often referred to themselves as the ”The Soul Smith Sisters.”
Lois began her lifetime commitment to education when she attended Mary Hunter Elementary School and G.W.Carver High School. Lois continued her education at The Norfolk State University, “Behold”, where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics.
During her time at Norfolk State, Lois met the love of her life and husband of over 47 years, Winston C. Smith “Smitty.” They were wed on June 1, 1974 and, to this union, they were blessed with two amazing daughters, Monique and Shontrese, whom Lois and Smitty always lovingly referred to as, “The Girls.”
Lois was a passionate educator, teaching for over 30 years and, ultimately, retiring from Richmond City Schools in 2010. During her service as an educator, she was named Teacher of the Year and touched, even changed, the lives of so many underserved students. She would often bring extra food to school to those who might be hungry, love and hug those students that were often dismissed because of their behavior and even fed and took care of so many kids that were friends or teammates of her own children.
Lois gave her life to Christ at an early age, attending the Oak Hill Baptist Church, Bassett, Va., and, upon relocating to the Chesterfield area, she found her lifelong church home at The First Baptist Church of Centralia. There, she served on The Ladies Auxiliary Usher Board for countless years. Serving her church family and community fulfilled Lois and she took her Usher Board and Christian stewardship duties fervently. She took great pride in being ‘on her post’ early each Sunday she ushered and whenever or wherever she was called to serve His ministry.
There is no doubt, Lois enjoyed life, and some of us had the opportunity to share many beautiful moments with her. Lois loved to travel and frequent fancy restaurants with her husband, including a few of her favorites; Buckhead, Bull & Bear and The Jefferson (Richmond, VA), Gianni Versace (Miami, FL), Smith & Wollensky (Las Vegas, NV). She also treasured spending her birthday, her second favorite holiday to Christmas, in some of the highest end suites in Las Vegas at hotels such as the Venetian and Bellagio. She enjoyed hosting get togethers at her home and ‘house hopping’ to her friends’ homes for gatherings. She loved to dance and would often drag her husband to the dance floor for a two step to their favorite oldies. There are so many wonderful memories we will continue to recant over the years!
Lois is survived by her Love, Smitty, her children, Monique Sparks (Damon) and Shontrese Morgan (Mark), granddaughter, Sierra Jai Davis-Sparks, grandson, Damon Sparks II, her ‘Pumpkin’ and ‘Little Man,’ sisters, Davilla Wooten (Vagola) and Aubretta Seward (Donnie), brothers-in-law, Eddie Smith (Delores), Jerry Smith (Crystal), sisters-in-law, Deborah Davidson (Raymond) and Patricia Smith, her adopted daughter, Rashema Meekins (Trey), an uncle, Lawrence Chambliss, an aunt, Elizabeth Pilson, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, her dearest friend, Alma Bell (Chuck) along with many other close friends that showed up, prayed and encouraged her until the end.
Lois’s life and memory will always be in our hearts and her feisty spirit will remain with us forever. She defied all odds to make it to her birthday and fought until the end. Job well done, Lois. Job well done!
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” ~ Psalm 118:24