Beatrice Smith, 81, known by friends and family as Bea, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. She is preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth L. Smith; her parents, John Dallas Howell and Janet Nations Howell; her son, Kelly Smith; her brother, Howard Lee Howell; and her great granddaughter, Ila Belle Brooks.
Bea is survived by her children, Kenni Lynn ( Steve) Brooks of Sylva and Kyle Lee (Phyllis) Smith of Wagener, S.C.; her brother, Terry Howell of Knoxville, Tenn.; her sister, Oleta Howell Haskett of East La Porte of Cullowhee; along with four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Bea attended the Qualla School in Jackson County, through the eighth grade, then rode the bus to the Sylva High School, graduating in 1957. She then attended Cooper Business School in Maryville, Tenn. where she perfected her business and secretarial skills. She often mentioned how the school emphasized neatness and appropriate dress for the job.
Bea began working for the Indian Health Services of the federal government in Cherokee under Ms Roper, RN, in the Community/Public Health Division. Both were very organized in caring for patients’ needs, managing specialty clinics in Cherokee and in Snowbird, Eye Care, Obstetrics, Health Cards/checks for policemen, bus drivers and people managing food booths at various gatherings. Bea was a trustworthy worker, with attention to detail and privacy. She kept very detailed family records and knew most of the Indian families on and off the Qualla Boundary. After Ms. Roper retired, Bea continued to work with Ms. Walkingstick, RN, until retiring after some 30 years of government service.
She was a role model for neatness, efficiency, was well-liked and was greatly appreciated, for her “get-er-done” talent. Because she still enjoyed good health and people, she returned to Cherokee Hospital as a Cherokee tribal employee. She was the secretary/clerk for the Physical Therapy Department for a number of years, retired again and joined friends in part-time work in the Cherokee Eye Clinic, for the Optician.
Besides being a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother, and working, Bea and her husband shared a strong Christian faith and were very active in the Cherokee Baptist Church. Bea was trustworthy in handling monies and serving, especially on committees concerning finance, and the building and property of the Church. She spearheaded several renovations, including installation of the new steeple. They were also active in the Cherokee Cancer Group, helping cancer patients and tehri families, and the Qualla Cooperative Organization. Her husband made beautiful things out of wood, and she helped her husband by applying finishes and the marketing of the items.
Bea will be greatly missed, and we are comforted knowing, as Fred Rogers told children on T.V., “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else”. We know she is busy working with our Lord.
The family will have a graveside service for Beatrice Smith on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Thomas Memorial Cemetery. Reverend Percy Cunningham and Reverend Danny Sweet will be officiating. Pallbearers will be Jeff Marcum, Buddy Allison, Brian Brooks, Kobie Brooks, Anthony Smith and Steve Brooks.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to The Building Fund Offering at Cherokee Baptist Church, 812 Tsalagi Rd., Cherokee, NC, ATTENTION: Myra Parker.
If you plan to attend, we ask that you please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Long House Funeral Home assisted with arrangements.