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Richmond - Smith, Elizabeth "Betty", 72, passed away at home on November 26 with her family by her side. Throughout her nine month battle with breast cancer she fought with dignity, grace, and perseverance. Betty was born in 1941 in Norfolk, VA to James and Alean Fulford. During her school years she enjoyed playing in the band. She also enjoyed modeling and much to her surprise won the Miss Virginia Pageant. After graduating from Norview High School in 1959 she went on to graduate from Old Dominion University in 1963 with a degree in business. Betty touched the lives of many students as a teacher in Norfolk before staying home with her first husband, Richard Drake, and her only daughter until 1983 when she returned to the business world. Betty loved spending time with her family and often referred to those times as a true gift. Even though her marriage did not last, she and Richard remained close friends and she loved him until the day she died. In 1985 Betty moved to Richmond, VA where she met and married AO Smith in 1987. Together they enjoyed playing tennis at Westwood and spending time with their 3 grandsons. After losing AO to cancer in 2005, Betty continued to strive for happiness. She traveled, spent time at the river entertaining friends and family, and made sure her family was always supported. Betty had a gift for making people feel special and was rewarded with an amazing group of friends that provided the strength she needed to face the past months. Betty is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Dragone, son-in-law, Stephen Dragone, and their three sons, Joe, Drake, and Jack Dragone. She is also survived by four nieces, a nephew, and their families in Houston, TX. Betty's love of life will not be forgotten. At her request, a Celebration of Life will be held at Westwood Club in Richmond, VA on Saturday, December 14 at 1 p.m.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Dec. 3, 2013