Mary Lewis Smith
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It is with great sadness that the family of Mary Lewis Smith announces her passing on the 18th
day of August, 2020, in Whiteville, North Carolina. Mary was a long-time resident of Asheville
until moving to Whiteville in November, 2011, to be close to her niece and nephew, Ann and
Mary was born on January 19, 1920, near Farmville in Pitt County, North Carolina, and was one
of twelve children of John Redden Lewis and Gertrude Lewis. She graduated from Farmville High
School and entered the Women's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro where
she earned a B.S.H.E. degree. Following this she entered the University of North Carolina and
earned a Masters Degree in Public Heath.
On March 8, 194 7, Mary married George Burwell Smith, and they moved to Asheville, North
Carolina, in 1953 where he was employed by Carolina Power and Light Company. She was pre-
deceased by Burwell who died on March 5, 1991. Except for a brief period of time from 1990 to
1993, they made their home in Asheville. Following Burwell's death in 1993, she moved back to
Asheville where she lived until moving to Whiteville, North Carolina, in 2011. While she and
Burwell had no children of their own, she was the proud aunt of twenty nieces and nephews, forty-
seven great nieces and nephews and over fifty great-great nieces and nephews, all of whom she
could recall their names and where they lived.
Mary held many positions during her long and productive working life, including the North
Carolina State Board of Health as a Health Educator, the North Carolina Department of Public
Instruction as an Assistant Supervisor for School Lunches and Acting Supervisor for School
Lunches. She also served as an Assistant Home Economics Extension Agent for Buncombe
County. Mary eventually went to work for the Buncombe County Board of Education in 1955 as
a home economics teacher and taught for many years at Clyde A. Ervin High School where she
enjoyed guiding young people on the beginning of their journey through life. She retired from
teaching in 1979 due to failing eyesight.
Mary was very active in her community and in her profession, having been a member of the
Asheville Garden Club, the Beaverdam Garden Club both of which she served as President and
Vice- President. Mary was passionate about flowers and nature and after moving to Whiteville,
she became a member of the Town and Country Garden Club. She was actively involved in Delta
Kappa Gamma, Alpha Phi Chapter and was the recipient of the ETA State Golden Key Award in
2014. She was also very active in the National Vocational Home Economics Association serving
as President, District Director and was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 1976
and Vocational Home Economics Teacher of the Year for the Western Region in 1974-1975. Mary
was an avid member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and attended many of their
conferences and functions.
Mary was a member of the Central United Methodist Church in Asheville for over 50 years and
enjoyed her Sunday school class, often hosting them at her home for lunch on Sundays, which shecooked and supervised despite being legally blind from macular degeneration in her eyes. After
she moved to Whiteville in 2011, Mary moved her membership to the Whiteville United Methodist
A graveside service will be held at Ashelawn Gardens of Memory, 901 Aiken Road, Asheville,
North Carolina, on the 21st day of August, 2020 at 11am, with visitation to follow at the cemetery. All of
her friends are invited to attend and to participate in the celebration of Mary's life. No flowers are
requested however donations may be made to the Whiteville United Church Pre-School program
in her memory. McKenzie Mortuary Service
Friends & Family
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