Mrs. Joanne Willie Paschal Smith, age 88, a native of Cannon County, Tennessee and longtime resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, passed away Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at her home.
She was born on October 6, 1934. Preceded in death by her parents, Samuel D. Paschal and Willie S. Reed Paschal, husband, Alexander Luther "Buddy" Smith, Jr., and a granddaughter, Evelyn Grace Smith.
She is survived by her son, David Smith, daughters, Claudia (Jim) Henley and Cynthia (David) Keill, brother, Jerry (Faye) Paschal of Readyville, grandchildren, sisters, Shirley White and Patricia Mathers, grandchildren, Everett Smith, Michael (Amanda) Henley, Eric (Shelby) Henley, Mariah Alexandra Henley, great grandchildren, Hayley Lynn Henley, Savannah Henley, Taylor Henley, Ryan Henley, and Maverick Henley, as well as numerous cousins and friends.
Early on, her parents instilled many wonderful characteristics, not the least of which was to respect the dignity of every human being. Mrs. Joanne thrived on understanding human nature and hearing other people’s stories. It was a well-known fact to anyone who met her, sharing her own experiences and wisdom came naturally.
As a young lady she set her sights on becoming a nurse. Alas, it was the 70s and things were changing fast in this country. As a result, she decided to stay home and keep a close eye on her kids. He was a great provider and therefore she was able to pursue her greatest work and passion, her family. She would sacrifice to ensure that her children enjoyed the best of everything.
She and Buddy were blessed with 63 years of marriage. Through the years, as their family grew from the kids to grandkids and later great grandkids, she was overwhelmed with love and pride in her family. They lovingly called her Memaw. Even though she didn't work as a nurse, her loving, caring, hopeful and nurturing spirit shone through as a wife and mother. The family knew she would have made an outstanding nurse, blessing all those would-be patients. Often, she reflected on the things she learned while studying, sharing them with her family. It was a point not lost on them and they loved it about her. Periodically, she would surprise them with the knowledge she had stored up from her studies. Those nuggets of wisdom would prompt the question, how did you know that? And she would quickly reply, nursing school. Drawing their memories back to seeing her with nursing books spread out intently studying while they were growing up.
Keeping up with current events held a great interest for her, especially politics. She started out as a conservative for many years. Then as everyone who knows her knows she became a staunch Democrat. She could get away with saying just about anything to anyone -- even in these very divisive times. She could charm her way into any Republican's heart. That was Mrs. Joanne’s way.
Not lacking in talents, her artistic was evident to all. An opportunity for a painting class presented itself once and she seized it. The family still wishes the painting was not lost because it showed her true colors: beautiful.
Throughout her life, she maintained an incredible memory. She could tell you more about her family than anyone knew and maybe others’ families as well.
She was a passionate tennis fan and rooted for the underdog always.
She loved fashion and always looked perfect whenever she went anywhere. She encouraged her children to do the same. She was a talented seamstress and made many outfits for her children that were admired by all.
Looking good however was just one of the many ways she encouraged (and inspired!) all of her family – her husband, her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, to excel in life in all of their endeavors. She was a proponent of following one’s dreams.
She was a voracious reader. She read the paper from cover to cover daily. She read a book a week until her eyesight failed her. She loved to write her name and date in every book she read. She encouraged the children to read as well and they read more than they ever would have without her encouragement. They grew up surrounded by books that she loved so much.
Another of her skills was a knack for making things beautiful. They fondly remember her gardening and the yellow roses she raised. Landscaping around the house with the help of her son-in-law Jim, whom she had known since he was 17, gave her great joy and satisfaction. A key part of her landscaping and homemaking included a “doll house”, as she called it, for the kids and grandkids to come home to.
Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Saturday, November 19, 2022, from 11-1 pm. Funeral services will follow in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel at 1 pm. Her son-in-law David Keill will officiate. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Share memories and condolences at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337. Because every life has a story.