Zelita Newman Smith

October 14, 1928June 29, 2014
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Zelita Newman Smith died on Sunday, June 29, 2014. She was born on October 14, 1928, in Rockingham County, North Carolina, the youngest child of the late John Urquhart Newman, Jr., and the late Thelma Stone Newman. Mrs. Smith was the widow of Vernon Lee Smith, to whom she was married for 63 years. Mr. Smith died on October 3, 2011.

Mrs. Smith was also predeceased by her sister, Patsy Long Newman, a Cary High School senior who died in 1941 as a result of injuries sustained in a bus accident; her sister, Anne O’Berry Willson, of Floydada, Texas; and her brother, Van Stone Newman, of Houston, Texas.

Mrs. Smith is survived by her two sons, Gerald M. Smith; and Steven Wesley Smith and wife, Yvonne Perry Smith, and their daughters, Ashley Newman Smith and Molly Christian Smith. Mrs. Smith is survived by eight nieces and nephews.

The family of Zelita Newman Smith wishes to express its gratitude to her many caring neighbors, including Hope Christian, Geary Morton and Abeba Giorgis. Special thanks are extended to caregiver Phyllis Green for her dedication, love, support and friendship.

Mrs. Smith was a member of Athens Drive Baptist Church for more than 35 years, where she served in many capacities including Sunday school teacher and committee member. She excelled as a wife, mother, grandmother, tutor, church leader, advisor, dessert-maker and all that she undertook.

Mrs. Smith graduated from Cary High School and attended St. Mary’s College, now St. Mary’s School. After graduation she worked as a dental assistant for Drs. William Theophilus Martin and James H. Edwards; EDS Corporation, and the State of North Carolina—proud of her work with Dr. Eugene F. Howden, DDS, as a dental fraud investigator.

A service to celebrate the life of Zelita Newman Smith will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in the chapel at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 Southeast Maynard Road, Cary, NC. The family will receive friends at Brown-Wynne prior to the service, from 10-11 AM.

A private graveside service will follow. Mrs. Smith will be interred beside her husband, parents and sister, Patsy, in the Newman Family plot at Hillcrest Cemetery in Cary.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Athens Drive Baptist Church, 1601 Athens Dr, Raleigh, NC 27606 or to a charity of one's choice.


  • Visitation Wednesday, July 2, 2014
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Zelita Newman Smith

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Jean Keith Smith

July 3, 2014

Jerry, Wes & Family

I'm saddened to hear of Zelita's passing. Please accept my apology for not being able to attend her service as I am still recovering from a recent fall. Your mother was a special lady and was also married to my second cousin, Vernon.

Jean Will Keith Smith & Family

Bev Hill

July 2, 2014

There are not enough words to describe what Zelita Smith meant to us at Athens Drive Baptist Church. I would dare say that several hundred children still have Arts & Crafts items made over the years in VBS under Zelita's loving instruction. Many people worldwide have been recipients of her generosity that provided farm animals, tools, etc. that provided not only immediate nutrition but also a livelihood. Countless children around the world have received shoeboxes packed by Zelita for Operation Christmas Child, containing not only clothing, toiletries and school supplies, but also a story of hope, that of Christ. She was very active in all WMU missions projects as well as the community. All of us who knew her are better people because she was in our lives. I will miss her greatly.

Otis Sorrell

July 1, 2014

Jerry and Wes- I'm so very sorry to learn of the death of your dear mother. Mrs. Smith was a great lady, and she and your father were excellent role models for all of us Reedy Creek kids. Please know that you are in my thoughts at this difficult time.