Funeral service was held at 10 a.m. Monday, June 24, at Mt. Judea Church of Christ, with burial at Mt. Judea Cemetery; visitation was held Sunday, June 23, at Holt Memorial Chapel.
Donnia Sue Smith died peacefully at her home on Friday, June 21 (2019).
She was born on Jan. 20, 1942, at the “head of Big Creek,” the youngest child of Arnold Holt and Agnes Marie Carter Holt. She dearly loved her family and friends and enjoyed telling stories of her childhood adventures with them.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Donnia Sue spent her life making a warm home for Buster and their four children — even if that home was a cabin or tent! In the early years of marriage, they traveled West with extended family and friends, spending long summers and fall traveling the country — from California, Oregon, and Washington to Michigan “picking fruit,” as they saved to buy a farm. Some might have seen this as work — but for the kids, it was a great family adventure! Who gets to spend the entire summer with all the aunts, uncles and cousins!
In California, Sundays were spent with Buster teaching Starlinda and Twilla to do laundry and fold fitted sheets, while Donnia Sue cleaned the “camp” taking care of Sheila and Scottie. After a day of work in Michigan, while Donnia Sue tidied up the cabin and made dinner, Buster taught school — helping the kids with homework so they wouldn’t fall behind.
In between work, Buster and Donnia Sue managed to take the family to visit places many kids only read about in books — Yellowstone, Redwood National Park, Yosemite, the Royal Gorge, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, Flathead Lake, the Great Salt Lake and a hundred other places they’ll never forget! Truly, adventures of a lifetime!
Donnia Sue was a skilled decorator who took great pride in her home at Mt. Judea. It was not uncommon to hear the vacuum running at two in the morning, as she prepared for the holidays or to host a “Rook” party for friends. Often the kids would go to bed with a bare Christmas tree, only to wake up with tinsel and wrappings everywhere as if a fairy came in the night to decorate!
In her youth, Donnia Sue was an outstanding basketball player and cheerleader, sporting the perfect ponytail, courtesy of her momma! She continued her love of sports through her children and grandchildren — when the kids got home from school, uniforms were washed, pressed, and ready to pack for the next game. She and Buster rarely missed a game, and Nana traveled far and wide to watch her grandchildren play — quick to offer advice for improvement, but even quicker with a hug to tell them how proud she was.
Taking after her mother, Donnia Sue was very artistic and an accomplished seamstress. Daughters tell stories of being measured for Homecoming formals before going to bed, only to wake up with a new, freshly sewn dress hanging over the door the next morning.
Donnia Sue spent many years working alongside Buster at the Smith Family Sawmill. She was an expert forklift driver and all-around boss! While she occasionally worked in the log woods with Buster, she gave that up when a log truck ran away with her — preferring instead to provide direction at the mill!
Most recently, Donnia Sue enjoyed spending time with friends at the Mt. Judea Senior Center, lunching, visiting, and playing games. Expert-level at Facebook, she could often be found having a snack in her recliner while “liking,” friends’ posts and telling stories!
Donnia Sue was preceded in death by her parents; husband Buster; sister, Nina Lou Blan; and brother and sister-in-law, Arnold Holt Jr. and Carol.
She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Starlinda and Patrick Sanders, of Western Grove, Twilla and Jason Cook, of Mt. Judea, and Sheila and Vixen James, of Harrison; and son and daughter-in-law, Scottie and Nina Smith, of Mt. Judea. She leaves behind nine grandchildren: Laura, Holden, Christopher, Blake, Devin, Teagan, Addie, Cortney and Paige. Three great-grandchildren survive Donnia as well: Kaden, Josie and Lyla.
Visitation was held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at Holt Memorial Chapel.
Funeral service was held at 10 a.m. Monday, June 24, at Mt. Judea Church of Christ, with the Rev. Rex Middleton officiating. Burial was at Mt. Judea Cemetery. Pallbearers were Ricky Smith, Roger Smith, Shawn Smith, Danny Smith, Greg Holt and Billy Cheatham. Honorary pallbearers included her cousin Murl Bryant and all her nephews, nieces and grandchildren.