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School 22


Virginia Mae Smith

May 9, 1929 ~ March 8, 2019 (age 89)

“Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

- Matthew 26:13 (NIV)

Virginia Mae Burks was born May 9, 1929, to Henry & Annie Burks. She confessed a saving faith in Christ at First Baptist Church in El Dorado, AR at the age of 9, the same year that she lost her leg after having cut her foot while playing in a contaminated pond. Despite seemingly impossible odds, Virginia graduated from A.M.& N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) & married Rudolph V. Green. From that union, three children were born. She taught English at various southeast Arkansas schools & at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, earning her Master’s degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana. IL. She was also an esteemed member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Virginia moved to Arkadelphia in 1971, married Andrew Smith & took a faculty position as the first African-American administrator at Henderson State University, where she served nearly fifteen years and was lovingly referred to as Dean Smith or “Deanie”. A faithful member of Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, she served as choir president, Sunday School teacher, Discipleship Trainer, sponsor of the Matron’s Auxiliary, Women’s Missionary Union & coordinator of the Health & Wellness Ministry. She was often a highly sought-after speaker, mentor, counselor & academic adviser. It was her former pastor & dear friend, Dr. W.T. Keaton who convinced her to come out of retirement in service to Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, AR, to which she commuted for years before retiring again.

 In 2015, Virginia relocated to Little Rock where she was a well-liked member of the Andover Place Senior Living Community. She enjoyed reading, studying & teaching God’s Word, spending time with family, watching the news & sports & a good conversation. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Elmer J., sister Esther, and granddaughters LaTrika & Destiny. Left to mourn her passing but honored to live out her legacy are her brother William Henry; children: Marcia Kemp (“Son in Love”, Hosea Leavy), Gregory (Lori) Green, & Dana (Janis) Green; grandchildren: Cherise (Frankie), Delano (Yameka), Sean, Omega, Kimberly, Keith (Shaie), Lee (LaShunda), Corey & Mia (Jonathan); great-grandchildren: Zachary, Zora, Delano, Jr., Jhakari, Jamar, Iris, Serene, Brooke, Jasmine, Shyleea, Lee IV, Shyleecia, Blessiney, Jillian, Jonathan, Jr. & a host of other family members & friends who adored her.

On March 8th, 2019, Virginia heard her Lord & Savior’s voice say “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” 

Funeral services are under the direction of Mitchell Funeral Home. The funeral service is Thursday, March 14, 2019, at 10:00 A.M. at Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, AR. Dr. Lewis A. Shepherd, Jr. will serve as officiant and eulogist. Sister Smith will lie in state 1 hour prior to funeral time (9:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M.).

Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will honor their sister with a final loving tribute during the Omega Omega Service beginning at 9:30 A.M. This is not a closed event.

Committal and Final Resting Place will be at Arlington Memorial park in El Dorado, AR. 

In Lieu of flowers, monetary donations can be made to Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 1600 Caddo St. Arkadelphia, AR 71923, in care of the Virginia M. Smith Youth Annex. 

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