OBITUARY

Vera Mae Smith

November 15, 1924February 6, 2019

Vera Mae Skains Smith was born on November 15, 1924, to James Bruno Vester Skains and Anna Mae (Pavlovsky) Skains. Vera had one younger brother, James Eugene Skains, whom she loved dearly. James died on December 10, 2011. Vera was stricken with polio around the age of two and not given much hope of ever walking again. The floor of the cabin they lived in was padded with blankets so Vera could roll wherever she wanted to go inside. As a result, she strengthened her muscles enough to walk again after about six months, but with a crippled leg. Vera’s leg was corrected through a number of operations during her youth and she wore corrective braces on her legs for many years. Because of these experiences, she became very independent and determined to do things for herself whenever possible.

Vera’s dad contracted tuberculosis and died when she was eleven years old. Her dad was only 35 years old when he died. Before his death, he spent many months at a sanatorium in Sanatorium, Texas, northwest of San Angelo, with hopes of healing. Unfortunately, he did not get well and was sent home for the remainder of his life. After her father passed away, Vera, James, and their mother were forced to leave their home and were quarantined for six months. James was required to live in the men’s barracks while Vera and her mother stayed in the women’s barracks. During this time family members agreed to take care of her mother’s livestock so they would still have it upon their return. Sadly though, all their cows were sold and the money spent before they returned so they had to start over. Vera’s mother supported the family by sharecropping for one of the landowners in the area. Mr. Dulaney, the landowner, always gave Vera and James a gift at Christmas as her mother did not have the extra money to spend on gifts. Vera told a story about the year Mr. Dulaney gave her a doll because she did not have one and how excited she was when she opened that present. Times were hard though and since she needed clothes more than a doll, her mother returned the doll and bought material with the money to make a much needed dress. This may explain why she became a doll collector in her later years.

Vera attended Riesel High School, which is east of Waco, Texas. She was a very good student. During her senior year, she dated a young man that became the valedictorian. This young man was very interested in a future with Vera, but not interested in pursuing a college education. Vera was determined to go to college even though her mother told her they could not afford it. Mr. Dulaney helped Vera obtain scholarship money from the Polio Foundation (later known as The March of Dimes) to cover her tuition and books while she attended the University of Texas. When it was time for her to leave for her freshman year, Mr. Dulaney gave her $200 and put her on a bus to Austin. There she found a boarding house to live in where she could work for her room and board. She also worked at The Texas Union on the UT campus to pay for her living expenses. Vera was very proud of the fact that with her first paycheck after graduation she could repay Mr. Dulaney his $200.

While at UT, Vera met her future husband at an Arthur Murray Dance Studio. James Carson Smith was unable to go into military service because of his eye sight. This made Carson (often called Smitty) a sought after dance partner for the young ladies taking dance lessons because so few men were available during the war. Vera wanted to learn how to dance, and was hoping a different young man would ask her out on as date. She signed up for dance lessons and met Carson when she was paired with him as a dance partner….and the rest is history. (She never did go out with the other guy!). Carson graduated two years before Vera and worked for a company that was doing oil exploration in South America. He was away for two years during which they corresponded regularly. According to Vera, when Carson returned he immediately proposed and they were married within the week on October 25, 1946. They remained married for over 52 years. Vera enjoyed married life and realized that she wanted her mother to be happy and re-marry after being a widow for so many years. Not too long after Vera married, her mother married Ike Howard Hughes and they moved to Coolidge, Texas where they lived until their deaths.

Carson and Vera made their first home on Montopolis Drive in south Austin next door to Carson’s mother. Their first child, Darryl, was born on October 27, 1949. When their second child, Richard, arrived on April 3, 1951, they purchased their first home at 6101 Bull Creek Road. This was their home during the births of Scott on July 1, 1952 and then April on April 23, 1954. As the family grew and more room was needed they built a home at 6713 Shoal Creek Blvd. and moved in April 1964. With a creek, a baseball field and a city park almost in their backyard, it was a great place for the kids to grow up. Carson and Vera remained there until they moved to Round Rock in 1980 to enjoy country living.

Vera loved to garden wherever she lived. She always had beautiful flower gardens and spent many hours taking care of them. While living in Round Rock, she had a very large vegetable garden where she grew tomatoes, green beans, black eyed peas, new potatoes, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, okra, dill, garlic, and sometimes a melon or two. Of course she shared much of her bounty with family and friends who always enjoyed getting fresh home grown vegetables. Vera and Carson also had several bee hives on their property in Round Rock which allowed them to meet new people when they dropped in to purchase honey. Many repeat customers became good friends over the years and Vera really enjoyed their unexpected visits. They also raised goats, chickens, guineas, and even had a few cows.

Vera was a skilled seamstress and sewed many of April’s clothes along with her own. Of course with all those boys, there was always lots of clothing to mend too. Numerous times she used her sewing skills around the home to make curtains, pillows, small blankets, and slip covers for chairs and couches. She really stayed busy with all her granddaughters wanting clothes for their Barbie and Cabbage Patch dolls. She also enjoyed finding bargains at garage sales and liked buying household items that her kids could use or clothes for the grandkids as they outgrew everything so quickly. Vera was an excellent cook and made everything from scratch. If she was expecting a visitor, she could whip up some tasty muffins or her banana cake in no time at all. In her later years when she was living alone, she made lots of soups using whatever was available in her garden, in addition to her “one-pot meals” as she called them to cut down on the dishwashing. She will be remembered for her “Spread-n-Cut Cookies” and fruit cobblers which are still a favorite of many of her kids and grandkids.

Carson passed away on April 21, 1999. Following his death, Vera remained on their land for many years. She stayed busy with her gardening, taking care of her goats and chickens, selling honey, going to garage sales until she quit driving, and spending time with family and friends when they dropped in. Her door was always open to visitors. Eventually, she started to slow down. One day in 2006, a young boy (7 years old) who lived in a nearby house came over to see if he could help her with anything. His name was Travis Mosley. What a blessing from God! He and Vera forged a truly wonderful friendship. Travis would drop in for visits which Vera looked forward to and as he got older he helped Vera with some of the chores with the animals. He continued to come daily until he graduated from high school in 2017. Vera was very proud of him for continuing his education and always enjoyed hearing about his future plans. Around 2012, Vera’s children “convinced” her that a little extra help would be good. She wasn’t as convinced! Eventually, another special person came into her life. Claudia Stockton became Vera’s caregiver, but most of all a very special friend to her and her family. Even after Vera moved to Fairway Assisted Living in June 2017, Claudia would visit her three days a week to spend time with her and make sure she was comfortable, happy, and well taken care of.

Carson and Vera had four children, Darryl Carson Smith and wife Marcia, Richard Blake Smith and wife Joy, Charles Scott Smith and wife Elaine, and April Diane (Smith) Peters and husband Don. Their grandchildren are Joseph Carson Smith, Julie Ann Smith-Cunningham, Jennifer Leigh Smith Cusimano, Kristal Joy Smith Reid, Kelly Ann Smith, John Christian Peters, Amber Diane Peters Withycombe, Summer Lynn Peters and Brianna Mae Peters Raridon. Their great-grandchildren are Justin Zachary McCoy, Michael Anthony McCoy, Kinley Grace Cusimano, Lila Joy Cusimano, Kylan Philip Cusimano, Nicholas Jonathan McCann, Blake Elliott Reid, Jaydon James Reid, Avalyn Brooke Reid, Danielle Rae Peters, Brady William Peters, Carson Jane Withycombe, Coen Davis Withycombe, Houston Todd Raridon and Nash Mitchell Raridon.

Memorial contributions may be made in Vera's name to the March of Dimes, Round Rock Masonic Lodge 227, 111 Masonic Way, Round Rock, Texas 78613 or the Christ Lutheran Learning Center, P.O. Box 895, Georgetown, Texas 78627.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • John Peters
  • Joseph Smith
  • Justin McCoy
  • Nicholas McCann
  • Brady Peters
  • Blake Reid
  • DONATIONS

  • March of Dimes
  • Round Rock Masonic Lodge 227
  • Christ Lutheran Learing Center

Services

  • Visitation Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Interment Friday, February 15, 2019
REMEMBERING

Vera Mae Smith

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Shelby Walden

February 13, 2019

April and family, please accept my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your sweet mom. ♥️ I have such wonderful memories of all the times she stayed with Steve, Ross, and me when our parents were out....or even for longer lengths of time when they traveled out of the country. She always had delicious home cooked dinners ready for me right when I walked in the door from school (around 4:30) !....definitely had me trained to eat early in the evening ☺️ She lived such a full life and was obviously much loved by her family. I know you will all miss her dearly.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Amber & Granny Smith - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Amber & Todde - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Amber & Todde at Granny's 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

April and Mom - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

J.J., Granny Smith, Blake, Avalyn - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Granny Smith blowing out her candles!

FROM THE FAMILY

Carson and Coen visiting Granny Smith in Round Rock

FROM THE FAMILY

Carson and Coen playing bingo with Granny Smith at Fairway Assisted Living

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Amber & Granny Smith - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Amber & Todde - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Amber & Todde at Granny's 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

April and Mom - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

J.J., Granny Smith, Blake, Avalyn - 93rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Granny Smith blowing out her candles!

FROM THE FAMILY

Carson and Coen visiting Granny Smith in Round Rock

FROM THE FAMILY

Carson and Coen playing bingo with Granny Smith at Fairway Assisted Living

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad, Joe, Darryl