Tuesday, February 17, 2012 -
Verna Jane Smith, October 10, 1934 - February 17, 2012 Benton, Kentucky
Verna Jane Smith, born: October 10, 1934 died: February 17, 2012 Age: 77 years, 4 months, and 10 days.
BENTON, KY — Verna Jane Houser Smith
Verna was born on October 10th 1934 in a small home located in the southern part of Marshall County. She was the first of four girls born to Clifford and Virginia (Virgie) Houser. Verna's sisters include Verlaine Lassiter, Kathy Pearson and Aletta Hargis.
Sometime during early childhood the family moved to Michigan so Clifford could find work. They returned to Marshall County when Verna was in the fourth grade. It was at Brewers School, that she met her future husband, Arwood Smith.
Growing up Clifford and Virgie ran a farm on Slickback Road with dairy cows, hogs and chickens. Just last month the milk barn stable burned to the ground and mother said 'she sure didn't miss that stable because it reminded me of hard work'! Verna spent a lot of summers with her maternal grandparents, Clint and Allie Anderson (Clint referred to Verna as 'Janie'). Her fondest summer memories were of when they lived at Peggy Ann Springs in Hardin Ky.
Verna loved to sing and learned to play the Accordion at a young age while living in Michigan. When they moved back to Kentucky she would perform at Fiddler's Contests and always won 'Best Accordion' Honors. She enjoyed singing solo, in choirs, and with her three sisters. Somewhere around 1950 Verna, June Creason Burnett, Francis Creason Dick and Donna Owens Murphy formed a quartet named the Harmonettes. These four gals were inseparable and their most notable event was then they performed in Nashville TN at Amateur Hour. They auditioned and were called back twice to perform before they were beaten by a solo singer that no one can remember! In fact, they almost missed their second performance as there were few telephones and communication about their next event was received on the same day of the performance. Donna Murphy recalls the gals leaving school early, jumping into Linda Perry's red convertible and exceeding the posted speed limit to get to Nashville on time! Perhaps this Amateur Hour can be compared to the modern day American Idol!
Verna was a natural born leader and excelled in academics. Her classmates voted her Ms Senior and all predicted she would go to college and someday become a Registered Nurse. She was also elected Secretary of her Senior Class (there was a total of 14 in her Senior Class!), President of F.H.A. and Editor of the school annual.
In 1953 she married her childhood sweetheart, Arwood Smith, during a double wedding ceremony with June Creason and Glen Burnett. Mother tells the story that they ate watermelon after the ceremony instead of cake. The following year they began their family. They had three children Steve, Stephanie and Sharon. Verna remained at home, raising the children until the youngest, Sharon started to school in 1966. Verna was hired by the Marshall County Board of Education as a school librarian and secretary at Brewers Elementary. She worked in the school system for 13 years before deciding to retire so she could read, garden and cook.
She thoroughly enjoyed flower gardening and other activities but her most joyful times were spent with her two grandchildren Dustin and Carson Dunn. If there was a ball game, track event or school program, Nana, as she was affectionately called was there. She loved those two boys and even named her cat after them, D C (we believe the name could have stood for Damn Cat).
Verna also loved to travel and made two overseas trips to France with school children studying under her son Steve. She enjoyed short trips to Germantown, TN to see Sharon, Stacey and 'the Memphis Crew' as she called them.
Verna is an Honorable Mention Kentucky Cornel, and a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy. She leaves her husband of 57 years, Arwood Smith, two daughters Stephanie Dunn (Mark) and Sharon Smith; two Grandchildren, Dustin Dunn (Chassity) and Carson Dunn (Ashley) and three Great Grandchildren, Alex (Carson), Tyler and Kannon (Dustin). One 'adopted' daughter Stacey McClain, and three sisters Verlaine (Paul) Lassiter, Kathy (Larry) Pearson and Aletta (Ronnie) Hargis, She is preceded in death by one son, Steve Smith, one brother in-law Paul Lassiter.
Mother, you never tooted your own horn so I am tooting it now, for you!
Visitation will be held between the hours of 5-8 PM Sunday, February 19, 2012 at the Collier Funeral Home in Benton, KY. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM Monday, February 20, 2012 in the chapel of the Collier Funeral Home. Joe Daryl Thorn and Paul Lamb will officiate.
The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to the Marshall County Public Library and American Cancer Society.