Nell Smith

Obituary of Nell Smith

Nell was born Dura Nell Graham on February 22, 1931 in Lyon, MS, and went to join her Lord Jesus Christ on July 9, 2021. Her visitation and funeral (celebration of life) will be at Clarksdale Baptist Church on Saturday, July 17, 2021, with visitation at 1:00 p.m. and funeral at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be at Oakridge Cemetery following the ceremony. She was the first born of four children of Henry Clyde Graham and Euva May Easley Graham. Nell graduated from Clarksdale High School in 1949. She was a Lifelong resident of Clarksdale / Coahoma County until the last 17 months when she relocated to Lewisville, TX. She devoted her life to her family and to her community. Her passion for landscaping and gardening is well known, but she also enjoyed reading a variety of subjects, loved her Lord and her church, and took pride in keeping abreast of local and national politics. She especially treasured the camaraderie and time spent with her family and friends around her kitchen table, at her cabin at Desoto Lake, or playing Bridge and Mahjongg. Also, the Smith family played an active part in their close-knit neighborhood on Linden Place where parents and children formed lifelong friendships creating memories they would treasure for life. Nell and Roy were lifelong members of Clarksdale Baptist Church. They always expected their children's presence on Sundays and Wednesday nights for R. A.'s, G. A.'s, choir practice, and prayer meeting. Nell's formative years instilled the philosophy that life is what you make of it. In the late 1920s, her grandfather and her father Henry Graham built and operated the Graham School which was located East of Lyon, MS, near Big Creek and served the farming families that needed a school close by. Henry's mother ran the school cafeteria. Nell's mother Euva came to the school as a teacher, and it wasn't long before Henry and Euva were married. As the oldest of the Graham children, Nell quickly learned the value of organizing, encouraging and leading others, finding solutions to obstacles, and doing the work necessary to create a positive outcome. Throughout her youth and into young adult years, these skills provided the foundation for lifelong friendships and professional successes. Her aptitude for applying these innate qualities allowed her to be a part of many significant events in the history of her community. Newly married in 1952 to Roy Allen Smith, Nell began working at the new Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center. One of the first physicians she helped recruit was obstetrician Dr. Frank Marascalco, who would become a valuable member of the hospital staff and the community for the next fifty years. A few years later, Nell began working at the Coahoma County Courthouse for Youth Court Judge Greek P. Rice where she encouraged and touched many lives. Many of the youth she served came back and told her they were inspired by her genuine interest and efforts to encourage them and that they did make changes to their lives and their future. Nell later worked at the Chamber of Commerce where she enjoyed interacting with the business people of the community. Finally she began work at the Clarksdale Flower and Gardens Department. Over the next couple of decades, Nell brought her vision, leadership, and collaborative skills to bear in repairing and creating beautiful landscapes and gardens throughout the City. Working together with the Garden Club, the City Beautification Commission, and other organizations, she found a means and the like-minded people with whom to exercise her talents. Nell took great pleasure and pride in her work. She believed in being a productive member of one's community and in citizens working together for the benefit of their community. These attributes were her trademark. Through the years she was recognized in numerous Clarksdale Press Register articles and feature photo stories. In 2009, she was honored by Mayor Henry Espy who named the paved street along the Sunflower River the "Nell G. Smith River Walk" which passes beneath the First and Second Street bridges. Through her love of flowers and beauty, Nell is remembered for working tirelessly creating beautiful parks, memorial areas, and landscaped intersections and gardens around Clarksdale including the now world-famous Band Stand Blues Stage beside the Clarksdale Blues Museum downtown. But her most proud accomplishments she would readily tell you are her children and the families they have created. For Nell, life was defined by the pillars of Faith, Family, Community and Country. Her family has been blessed to be a close, interactive "community" itself and will greatly miss her wit, her strength of character, classy style, and her unfailing encouragement. She is survived by her six children: Roy A. Smith, Jr. (Amy) of Jackson, MS; Sally (Tippy) Olivi of Clarksdale, MS; Stuart (Jody) Smith of Colorado Springs, CO; Miriam (Gerry) Green of Denton, TX; John (Annette) Smith of Lewisville, TX; Patrick Smith of Dallas, TX; 13 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren; two brothers: William Ralph (Miriam) Graham of St. Simons Island, GA, and Fred Jackson (Judy) Graham of Tyler, TX, one sister, Bessie (Tony) Sbravati of Clarksdale, MS; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family. For those who wish to make a donation in Nell's memory, please consider Clarksdale Baptist Church at 401 First Street, Clarksdale, MS 38614, the Clarksdale Garden Club at 333 Westover Drive, Clarksdale, MS 38614, or the charity of your choice. Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale, MS is in charge of arrangements.
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Saturday
17
July

Visitation at Main Service

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Clarksdale Baptist Church
401 First Street
Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Saturday
17
July

Funeral Service

2:00 pm
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Clarksdale Baptist Church
401 First Street
Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States

Final Resting Place

Oakridge Cemetery
Lee Dr And Oakridge
Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
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