Mary Nell Hart Smith

Published 3:32 pm Monday, January 22, 2024

Mary Nell (Hart) Smith of Brookhaven, Miss., passed away on Friday, January 19, 2024, in New Orleans. She was born on June 5, 1929, in Brookhaven, Miss., to Fred and Mary Hart.

She was an identical twin. Family found it almost impossible to tell her apart from her twin sister Sarah in their early years. She felt a strong kinship with all twins and news stories about twins.

Mary was also immensely proud of her Mississippi heritage and ancestry. Her roots extended into the Hart family of Bogue Chitto and Rials family of east Lincoln, both of which were early settlers of Lincoln County. She had 12 siblings (three sisters and nine brothers) who were extremely close. She was integrally involved in family get-togethers and holidays — a Hart family Thanksgiving was an event to behold.

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She attended Fair Oak Springs High School from 1943 to 1947. She was an excellent student and played on the women’s basketball team. In later years, she was a frequent participant in school reunions.

After high school, she attended Copiah Lincoln Junior College. There she met her future husband, James August Smith. They married on June 5, 1948, on her birthday and at the same time as her twin sister at the City of Brookhaven courthouse. They were married for 72 Years until James’ death in August 2020.

Mary lived at Millsaps and Mississippi State University while James attended college. She enjoyed close friendships with other young couples attending school. At Mississippi State, she and James attended football games and she would follow Mississippi State sports for the rest of her life.

Following James’ graduation and employment with the Humble Oil Company (Exxon) as a petroleum geologist, she lived across south Louisiana in New Orleans, Crowley, La., Grand Isle, La., and finally River Ridge, La. She was an exceptional homemaker and raised three children during this time. She was also an integral part of a community of company geologists and engineers and their spouses.

While living in River Ridge, she was an active member of the Douglas Park Garden Club, including serving as president. She was a member of the local bridge club and was one of their top players. She also participated in the neighborhood’s annual Christmas door contest, winning first on many occasions.

She had many, varied Interests and hobbies, including growing flowers, watching birds, traveling, and cooking. She was an avid collector of glass and crystal and specialized in collecting depression glass. She also created many beautiful quilts.

In 1987, she and James moved back to Brookhaven following his retirement. There they enjoyed more than 30 years of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, and other family coming to visit.

Mary is survived by her daughter, Linda Smith, and two sons, Bruce Smith and wife Brenda, and Glynn Smith and wife Sharon. She had seven grandchildren, Ginger (Cliff) Daniel, Jeffrey Smith, Kevin (Jessica) Smith, Thomas (Jennifer) Rohr, Courtney (Rick) Paschal, Kaitlin Smith, and Glynn Smith. She also had five great-grandchildren, Ella Daniel, Briggs Smith, Tucker Smith, Harper Paschal, and Clayton Paschal. She is survived by two brothers, Jerry Hart, and Joe Hart.

Her grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, January 25, 2024, at Riverwood Family Funeral Services in Brookhaven, Miss. Visitation will start at 9:30 a.m. and a chapel service will start at 11:30 a.m.