Barbara Smith

Obituary of Barbara Joanne Smith

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Barbara Joanne Thomas Smith was born at home on September 10, 1939 to Clayton Henry Thomas and Lillie Myrtle Grace Nelson Thomas in Riverdale, Michigan. There were 6 children: John, Eleanor, Nelson, Barbara, Clayton & Chuck. Their father died when she was eleven years of age. Their mother then married Jay William Salisbury in August 1956, who had four children: Mark, Virginia, Herb & Richard. A son, Jay William Salisbury II, was born a year later to unite the two families. Their mother died in 1967 when Barbara was twenty seven years old. Barbara moved to Hinsdale, Illinois where she met and married Vaughn Smith on November 19, 1978; he had three sons: Jonathan, David and Steve. They lived in Illinois until 1982 when Vaughn retired and they moved to Altamont, TN. Barbara and Vaughn were married for 19 years and Barbara took care of Vaughn in his later years as he suffered from Alzheimers until his death in 1997.

Barbara is preceded in death by her husband Vaughn Wilson Smith, as well as many close family members including brothers John Willard (Rodeka) Thomas of Montreal, Canada; Mark Milton (Betty) Salisbury of Three Rivers, MI; Herbert Jay (Jane) Salisbury of Kalamazoo, MI and two grandchildren.

She is survived by her step-children Jonathan (Glenda) Smith of Hendersonville, NC; David (Cherie) Smith of Ooltewah, TN; and Stephen (Robin) Smith of Wake Forest, NC; and five grandchildren. Siblings: Eleanor Mae (Gerald Lee) Holmes of Ashton, MI; Nelson Edwin (Nancy) Thomas of Greeneville, TN; Clayton Henry (Sallie) Thomas of Reno, NV; Charles Leroy (Melody) Thomas of Lake City, MI; and Jay William (Denise) Salisbury of Altamont, TN. Step-siblings Virginia Belva (Keith) Salisbury of Tustin, MI; and Richard Leroy (Patricia) Salisbury of Three Rivers, MI. As well as many cousins, nephews, nieces and special friends in her beloved local church.

She was an active member of the Cumberland Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church, especially in the Church's Community Service Center where she volunteered for nearly 40 years.

In her younger years she loved to travel using her National Parks Golden Age Pass with her brother Jay (Bill) Salisbury and his family.  One of her greatest joys was the bi-annual Thomas/Nelson/Salisbury Family reunions. She hosted some of the reunions and attended almost every one going back 40 years. Barbara's home in Altamont was destroyed by fire in 2011 but she persevered, living with friends and then in a trailer on site until she could move into her beautiful new home. She loved to have company and opened her home to many people who were in need of short term assistance. 

Barbara suffered many illnesses throughout her life, she beat back cancer several times, and had many surgeries but she always smiled, and when asked how she was doing, her response was, "I'm doing fine." She never complained and always appreciated the care she received from the nurses and caregivers.

Barbara loved Jesus, life, people and her church.  She will be missed by all who loved her.







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