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Bettye Jane Williams Smith

obit18LEXINGTON, Ky. - Bettye Jane Williams Smith passed away at her home on Sunday, August 18th after an extended illness. She passed peacefully to the other shore surrounded by her four children and caregiver.

Born in Owensboro Kentucky the 14th of May 1923 she was a descendant of two early pioneer families that settled in Daviess County. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gertrude Ann Pennington and Wilbur Walter Williams. She was also preceded in death by her husband, William Clifton Smith.

Bettye graduated from Owensboro High School where she was May Queen and attended Murray State College. There she met William Clifton Smith from Pembroke, KY and they were married during their second year of school. World War II intervened and she stopped school to support the war effort as an artillery clerk at the newly constituted Fort Campbell. She also had a newborn son to take care of. Her husband served in the army in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

After the family was reunited they moved to Owensboro where she had three more children.

Bettye was active in the Boy Scouts, the Owensboro Eastern Star and The White Shrine becoming the youngest Worthy Matron in the local Eastern Star’s history. She was an accomplished pianist in her early years and spent much of her later years attending musical events in Lexington and Cincinnati.

She was widowed at age 36 with four children ranging from 4 to 16years of age. For a brief period she worked as purchasing agent for Green River Steel Company. She later remarried and lived in Phoenix, Tampa and Augusta Georgia. Following a second widowhood she moved to Lexington.

She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church.

She is survived by 3 sons and a daughter: Dr. Clifton Smith (Renee), Lexington, KY., Joe Terry Smith, Lexington, KY, James Walter Smith, Fayetteville, Georgia and Dianne Smith Tomer, Massillon, Ohio. She is also survived by 9 grandchildren: James Robert Smith, Ryan Smith, Jena Smith, Shawn Tomer, Tiffany Tomer Brownfield, Christopher Smith, Jennifer Erickson, Melanie Leach and Caroline Smith and by 10 great-grandchildren.

Bettye was greatly loved by all that knew her – she never met a stranger. She was proud of her family and travelled often with them to Hawaii, England, continental Europe and cruises in various parts of the world.

The family joins in thanking very special caregivers Gloria Bronston, Jean Edens and Nancy Syroney-Stiles. The family also wishes to acknowledge Hospice of the Bluegrass for their support and care in the final months.

Pallbearers are Christopher Smith, James Robert Smith, Ryan Smith, Shawn Tomer, Anthony Smith, John Leach and William Brownfield.

Honorary pallbearers are Hardy Link, Marco Chopin, Dr. Stephen C. Schindler. Neill Day, Hugh Bennett, Henno Lohmeyer, Dr. John Roth, Tom Curlin, Frank Combs and Mark Wallace.

Friends may call at the home of Dr. & Mrs. Clifton Smith, 3105 Warrenwood Wynd on Tuesday, August 20th between 2 and 4 pm and between 7 and 9pm. Funeral services will be held at the home on Wednesday, August 21st at 10:00 am by Rev. Mark Keene of St. Agnes Church, Ft. Mitchell,KY and by Rev. Thomas Charles Barnes of Holy Cross Church, Covington, KY. Burial will follow in Owensboro Memorial Gardens, Owensboro, Ky.

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