Shirley Beatrice Smith Whitehead
Shirley Beatrice Smith Whitehead, 82, of Hampton, Tenn., went peacefully to be with her Lord and to hold her baby, Cindy, on July 8, 2021. She was surrounded at home with her family by her side, after an extended illness of Alzheimer’s.
Shirley was born at Carden’s Bluff on October 26, 1938, to the late Albert and Rhoda Smith.
Shirley was a 1956 graduate of Hampton High School, where she graduated as valedictorian. She also received special honors in home economics and was elected Chapter Sweetheart of the FFA Club. In her 1956 yearbook every classmate and teacher wrote how sweet, helpful, and great example she was for other students. After graduating high school, she began working at Parks-Belk in Elizabethton for 10 years, where she met her future husband, Terry D. Whitehead. She then worked for Tri-State Container and Inland Container for 32 years.
She was preceded in death by a brother, Bud Smith, and two sisters, Beulah Aldridge and Gail Hodges.
Shirley was a faithful member of Pearce’s Chapel FWB Church for 70 years. Shirley was passionate about her Lord and had compassion for others. She had a Christian love for everyone. Shirley loved to sing and work with all the kids in Vacation Bible School. She never wanted praise for herself. Her joy came from helping and encouraging others.
For her 45th Class Reunion, Shirley wrote these words. Terry and I do not have children, but I’m here to tell you one can still have grand and great-children x 28 (nieces and nephews). They light up our lives and treat us with more respect than lots of children do their own parents. I have been a member of Pearce’s Chapel FWB Church for 70 years. My church has been one of the most important parts of my life. I have never been bored for one minute. While I was working full time, I kept my own home (with lots of help from Terry) running smooth. I helped, along with my brothers and sisters, at my parents’ home, caring for our Mom for 27 years, which required skilled nursing and other household duties and whatever the need of the hour happened to be. This skilled nursing was on-the-job training from a RN little sister and a LPN older sister. I also took Home Health Care classes at a local vocational school. For recreation, Terry and I take in many basketball, football, and baseball games from pee-wee through college. That’s what it takes with 28 grandkids. We are so blessed. I have had a rich, fulfilling life, with all of my needs met and most of my wants.
This was the Shirley I knew… It was love at first sight for both of us. Prettiest girl I had ever seen. We were sweethearts for 18 months. She was the Most Beautiful Wife for 62 years. My Very Best Friend for 64 years. “Best Friends…We met, we clicked, we’re cool, we’re one. Two friends with one thought beneath the sun. As it shines so brightly, there may come the rain…To fall into lives, but best friends we’ll remain. Ring the phone & I’ll run to answer your call. Need me for whatever, I’ll go, “is that all”? For like the truest friendship that never ends, You & I, for the rest of time, very best friends!” ”I will love you forever.” Terry D. Whitehead. She was a loving, faithful wife, always forgiving, sweet, generous, understanding, and helpful. Shirley brought so much joy to my life. She was the truest example of how to live a Christian life. She was a hard worker, a great cook, and fun-loving picnic buddy. Shirley enjoyed watching Hampton Bulldog Basketball and UT Basketball. She enjoyed beach vacations and shopping trips to the Smokey Mountains. She respected her mom and dad as long as they were alive.
Shirley is survived by her loving husband, Terry D. Whitehead; two brothers, James “Tip” Smith and Jackie Paul Smith (Edna); one sister, Lula Belle Street; her mother-in-law, Hannah Whitehead; and brothers-in-law, Steve Whitehead and Russ Hodges. Shirley was a wonderful, loving aunt and caregiver to the following: She is also survived by eight nieces and nephews, Cheryl Ann, Chris, Joe, Jan, Deani, Ned, Jill and Josh; 16 great-nieces and nephews, Kevin, Ben, Brandon, Beth, Jacob, Nicholas, Vanessa, Landon, Weston, Jude, Lacey, Jackson, Hannah, Lauren, Olivia and Lane; and four great-great-nieces and nephews, Wade, Kenzie, Neal and Emily. Six of these stayed at our home while their parents worked. Kevin and Ben for 13 years, they helped us do anything we needed. Lacey and Lauren for 10 years, they were “her girls.” Wade and Kenzi were lots of fun for us. Special people, Tip and Jack, helped in many ways whenever needed. Lula Belle was her best girlfriend throughout life, she spent many hours giving the best care possible for Shirley, also singing and reading the Bible to her daily. Deani cooked meals every day, went to Sam’s, visited, and brought gifts and love. Cheryl Ann would sit with Shirley, help her plant flowers and work in her garden, and went to the grocery store for us. Carl, Ned, Josh and Ned Isaacs are always willing to help in any way they can. Julie, Sandra and Edna have always welcomed us into their homes and shared their kids with us. A best friend, Sue Loveless. Special friends, Dorothy and Pat Hopson. Also, a special thank you to Elizabeth Liverman for her help.
Funeral services for Shirley Beatrice Smith Whitehead will be conducted at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 10, at Memorial Funeral Chapel. The graveside service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 11, at Happy Valley Memorial Park. Family and friends will assemble at the cemetery at 1:50 p.m. Sunday. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, prior to the service. Songs by Lula Belle during visitation. Eulogy by Lula Belle Street. Three songs by Elvis. Chris Hughes will speak. Three more songs by Elvis. Graveside will by conducted by Dean Smith. Pallbearers will be Ben, Kevin, Carl, Josh, Ned S., Ned I., Jackson, Joe and Dave Montgomery. The honorary pallbearers will be the Hampton High School Class of 1956, Jacob, Weston, Landon, Chris, Greg, Jude, Nicholas, Brandon and Lane. A special thank you to everyone at Amedisys Hospice for all their loving care and compassion they showed Shirley and her family. Condolences may be sent to our website at www.memorialfcelizabethton.com
Memorial Funeral Chapel is serving the Whitehead family.