Pearl Virginia Miles Smith

Published 1:06 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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“A Woman After God’s Heart” A jewel of a woman, Pearl Virginia Miles Smith was a Godly, loving, and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, who stood in the gap for her children. Her loving compassion, prayers, joy, and wisdom extended far beyond her family and flowed into the lives of her church family, her community and wherever she went. She was affectionally called “Mrs. Pearl.” All those she met would come to know her favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Mrs. Pearl was born on November 10, 1925, in Richmond, Va., to the late Georgia Miles, who died while Pearl was an infant. She was raised by a loving aunt and uncle, Gertrude and Robert Kenny. She accepted Christ at the age of 12 and became a member of Thirty First Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. After graduating from Maggie L. Walter High School in 1942, she received her beautician license from Robinson Beauty School. She worked as a hairdresser until she met and married her husband, James E. Smith Sr., on September 8, 1951.
James and Pearl eventually moved to Steinman, Va. Her service to the Lord and the community began while living in Steinman, where she began teaching local children the Word of God. She and a friend started the first Sunday School in that community, and she also continued her work as a beautician. She and James relocated to Elizabethton, Tenn., where they raised their children. Mrs. Pearl united with Phillippi Baptist Church and was a faithful member and served in any capacity the Lord called for more than 70 years until her health declined. Once her children started school, she began working at the First United Methodist Church where she helped prepare meals for various church functions, fellowship dinners, and wedding receptions and parties. Mrs. Pearl, who began cooking in her Aunt Gertrude’s kitchen at age 13, became well known throughout the area for her dinner rolls, chicken salad, and as one of Elizabethton’s finest cooks.
Seeking a better life for her family, in 1973 she began working at American Air Filter until her retirement in 1989. Following her retirement, she became a partner and chief caterer for the Rose of Sharon for more than a decade. Although she was a full-time loving wife and mother, she was often asked to help with local weddings and dinner parties. However, she was never too busy to support the functions of her beloved Phillippi Church family and community. At Philippi, Mrs. Pearl served in any capacity to which the Lord called her. She was a member of the Anna Breedlove Circle, Sunshine Band Leader, Usher Board, President of the Mass Choir and faithfully participated in the Bethel District Baptist Missionary and Education Association. She served her local community as a member of the Carter County Election Commission, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Red Cross, the Comwolies Civic Club and University of Tennessee Extension Family and Community Education. She was an avid supporter of the Elizabethton City School System and served as Girl Scout Leader, President of the Elizabethton High School Parent Teacher Association, and officer of the Elizabethton High School Betsy Band Boosters.
Mrs. Pearl found time to minister to others through Meals on Wheels, the Melting Pot, and providing home cooked meals from her own pantry for the sick and elderly of her community. Mrs. Pearl’s service earned her the Volunteer Community Service Award by the Carver Rec Center of Johnson City. The Mayor of Elizabethton, Tennessee, Curt Alexander, proclaimed October 12, 2012, as “PEARL VIRGINIA SMITH DAY” and asked all citizens and residents to recognize and honor her on this day.
God released Mrs. Pearl from her earthly duties and called her home to rest in His Arms on May 17, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husband, James E. Smith Sr.; a daughter, Gloria Ann; and three sons, Leroy, James Jr. and Billy.
Left with the anticipation of joining her in Glory are her loving and devoted daughters, Lillian (Barry Sr.) Owens, Jan Stephens, Derby (Lester) Butz, Shirley (Arnold Sr.) Thomas and Karen Smith. In addition to her daughters, she leaves a host of loving grandchildren: grandsons, Travis McRath, Terrence Turner Sr., Johnathan Smith, Jackie Stephens Jr., Lamar Spencer, Arnold Thomas II, Barry Owens Jr., Everett Thomas, Julian Smith, Ryan Thomas, Zechariah Nidiffer, Jalen Smith, Rakown Grimes, Terrance Lucy, Torrian Lucy and William Weems-Smith II; granddaughters, Tiffany Davis, Jessica Stephens-Whitfield, Karlyssa Williams, Elliana Weems-Smith, Londyn Pearl Weems-Smith, Isabella Weems-Smith and Vesaree Weems-Smith; great-grandsons, Terrence Jr., Jeremiah, Jacob, Nate, Oliver, Micah, Isaac, Houston, Winston, Anderson, Braycen, A’saiah and Javon; great-granddaughters, Kaiden, Tameria, LoGhan, Heaven, Shelby, Constance, Aubree, Li’Mora, Azalea Grace and Brooklynn; great-great-grandsons, Titus and Miles; and and great-great-granddaughters, Hazel, Mia and Katalina. Mrs. Pearl also leaves to cherish her memories numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, her beloved Phillippi Baptist Church Family, Elizabethton Community, and friends.
Funeral services will be conducted Thursday, May 25, at 6 p.m. from Phillippi Missionary Baptist Church, Elizabethton, Tenn. The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m., prior to the service. Interment will be Friday, May 26, at 1 p.m. at the VA National Cemetery, Mountain Home, Tenn. The cortege will depart the funeral home at 12:30 p.m.
Professional service and care of Mrs. Pearl V. Smith and family are entrusted to Birchette Mortuary & Cremation Service Inc. (423) 926-6013.

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