In Loving

Harlene Janet Smith Barnhill

September 24, 1939 – March 11, 2024

Harlene Janet Smith Barnhill passed away on March 11, 2024, in Richmond, Virginia.

Harlene was born on September 24, 1939, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the younger daughter of the late Carrie Lee and Harlan Smith, for whom she was named.

She raised her family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she shared her talents with her faith community as a soprano in the church choir.

In the early eighties, she relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she appreciated the mountains and supported the arts by volunteering as an usher at the Santa Fe Opera House and the annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Harlene was a huge proponent of animal rescue efforts and for years participated in trap-neuter-return programs for feral cats. She also volunteered with a variety of animal welfare agencies in Santa Fe.

In 2016, she packed up all her belongings and her beloved cats and drove cross-country to Richmond, Virginia, where she lived in her own home close to her eldest child and his family. She will be lovingly remembered and respected for her courage and confidence in starting that new chapter of her life, as well as her generosity toward the community she built in Richmond.

A true matriarch, Harlene was a woman of integrity, firm convictions, and fierce devotion to all things regarding her family and animals. She loved a good steak, locally grown tomatoes from Crazy Farm, doing puzzles, going to movies with her family, and using her iPad to keep up with cat videos. She lived independently and cared for her cats until her passing.

Harlene was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Shirley Reynolds; her brother-in-law, Lynn; as well as many friends and extended family members.

Harlene is survived by her children, Scott (Karen) Schwartzkopf, Janet (Brent) Robertson, and Tom (Teresa) Schwartzkopf; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and her feline kids, Pumpkin and Addy.

A private memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 23.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Española Humane ( and Felines and Friends ( in Santa Fe, New Mexico.