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Esther Lea Smith (Davidson), passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side Thursday, April 12, 2018. Esther is preceded in death by Jerry, her loving husband of 68 years. She is survived by her children, Stephen (Paula), Nicholas (Susan), Elizabeth (Julius), Rebekah, and Matthew (Donna); her grandchildren, Kyle, Casey, Kelly, Tom, Andrew, Elisabeth, and Ligia; and great grandsons, Jackson and Matthew. Esther was born in Stevens Point, WI, where she later attended Central State Teachers College, and also met her future husband, Jerry. She graduated from Central State Teachers College with a BA in Education and a bachelors degree of science. She taught high school English until she married Jerry, a U.S. Navy pilot, in 1949. Esther lovingly raised five children who inherited some of her many gifts, including her sense of humor, her musical and artistic talents, her love of animals and nature, and her strong Christian faith. As a navy family, the Smiths traveled back and forth across the country, residing in Pensacola, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Milwaukee, WI, Haywood, CA, Chula Vista, CA and Newport, RI. Following Jerry's retirement, Esther and Jerry resided in Bristol, RI, Tucson, AZ and Asheville, NC. Esther was an eclectic music lover, accomplished vocal soloist and pianist, seamstress and quilt-maker. She was a voracious reader and enjoyed watching TV, especially British Murder Mysteries on PBS, working on jigsaw and crossword puzzles (NY Times in ink). She remained active gardening, bird watching, golfing, swimming, hiking and traveling. She was a devout Christian and was very active in her church and community. Esther was much loved and will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held, Monday, May 21, 2018 at 2:00pm at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC. Friends and family are welcome to attend. Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Smith Family.