Betty Claire Smith, 88, of Reynolds, Ga., went home to be with the Lord Jesus May 24, 2021, at Liberty Commons/Kempton Assisted Living in Jacksonville. She was born to Lonnie Hugh and Sally Mae Pierce September 24, 1932, in Talbotton, Ga. She was the middle child of four other siblings: Walter Hugh, Mary, Paul, and Thomas. She was predeceased by both Walter Hugh and Thomas. She grew up on a farm near Reynolds, graduating from Reynolds High School. She graduated from Business Training Institute in Macon and worked as a secretary for Cherokee Brick and Tile before meeting her future husband, William Alfred Smith. They were married on March 13, 1950, in Macon. It was the start of a 69-year marriage that took them throughout the United States and the world. Upon discharge from the Army, Bill began the process and schooling to become a Navy chaplain and officer. An ever-supportive wife, she worked so that he could focus on his education and she faithfully accompanied him throughout his 30 year career to duty stations in Florida, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina.
She was mother to three children, Claire Smith Zawistowski of Jacksonville; Christopher Lanier Smith of Conway, SC; and Elizabeth Michelle Gisondi of Cary, NC. She was also grandmother to five: Lauren McCool of Des Moines, Iowa; Jarrett and Jillian Smith of Myrtle Beach, SC; and Leo and Lila Gisondi of Cary, NC. She was also a mother-in-law to their spouses, Steve, Becca, Laura, and Joe, and leaves behind a number of nephews and nieces as well. Betty was a devoted wife and mother who was a never-ending source of love and support for her family. She dearly loved them and was dearly loved in return. She was a remarkably strong woman who was often tasked with raising the children alone when military duty called Bill away from the family for months at a time. She was an avid letter writer and took great care to stay in contact with her family, making each feel special and loved.
As much as she loved her family, she loved her God and the Lord Jesus more. She loved going to church and participating in programs to help others, particularly with her excellent sewing and cooking. She could often be found at home playing the piano and singing her favorite hymns to the Lord. She and Bill purchased her family farm after his retirement from the Navy. It was her favorite place where she could enjoy the gardening, animals, and farm life that were so precious to her. Never was she happier than when she was digging in the dirt and working with her flowers and plants; those who knew her know this well.
The service was live streamed on the FairHaven Funeral Home Macon Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fairhavenmacon