Betty Jean Durham Smith, 90, passed into glory with the sunrise on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. She was born in Pittsburgh, PA on April 15, 1930 to Herbert and Lina Durham, the first of their four children. Reared in Fairmont, West Virginia, the family faithfully attended the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Betty attended East Fairmont High School where her exceptional soprano voice won the state’s vocal competition. After graduation, Betty left Fairmont for Asbury College in Wilmore, KY where she majored in education and met her husband-to-be, Theron H. Smith, Jr. She graduated on August 12, 1952 and was married three days later on August 15 thanks to the efforts of her family and friends to plan and prepare the wedding. The couple began their married life in Wharton, OH where Theron had been appointed pastor at Wharton Methodist Church two months earlier. She enjoyed her role as pastor’s wife during their appointments to Methodist churches in West Union, Linworth, Troy, Forest Park (Cincinnati), Walnut Creek, Livingston (Columbus), and Westerville, Ohio. They also served in missionary service for two years in the Philippines and eight years at special appointment to Ashland Theological Seminary. During this time, Betty taught in the public schools in Wharton, Worthington and Ashland while earning her master’s degree in education and raising their three children. Their last church charge was at Cypress Wesleyan Church in Galloway leading the ministry to seniors, from which they retired in 2018. A fine example of a Christian woman, she was a gifted teacher and passionate learner all her life: willing to share her knowledge, her warm smile and her Lord with everyone.
Betty is survived by her husband of 68 years, Theron Smith; daughter Jocelyn (George) Gibbs, and sons, Kevin (Kimbalyn) Smith and Matthew Todd (Patricia) Smith; her grandchildren Sarah Ashley (Les) Cheung, Jordan Rachel Smith, Abigail Elizabeth (Jordan) Poppe, Mollie Grace (Adam) Vigeant and Stella Gabrielle Smith; and her great-grandchildren Finley Therese Cheung, Theron Reid Poppe, Silas Paul Cheung, Sadie Jean Poppe, and Lev Michael Vigeant. Her three siblings also survive: Janet (William – deceased) Watts, Gerald (Janet May) Durham and Robert (Mary – deceased) Durham, as well as many loving and beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A memorial service for the family and many friends of Betty is now scheduled for 10:00am on October 9, 2021 at Cypress Wesleyan Church, 377 Alton Darby Creek Road, Galloway, OH. TIDD FAMILY FUNERAL HOME of Hilliard Ohio is assisting with the arrangements. To sign the on-line register and leave a message for the family, please visit www.tiddfuneralservice.com.
Donations may be made to Asbury University / 1 Macklem Drive / Wilmore KY 40390 with Betty Jean Durham Smith’s name in the memo field.