Lucy Smith

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    - Sis. Patrice Alexander
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Lucy Mary Smith

SALISBURY - Lucy Mary Smith, was born July 8, 1924, in Salisbury where she eventually returned and passed away on Aug. 4, 2014, after 90 long and fruitful years living throughout these United States.

She was the third of eight children born to the late Coke N. and Lula F. Gilliam. She received all of her elementary and high school education in Rowan County, graduating with honors from Granite Quarry School. She received a B.S. Degree from Barber-Scotia College, Concord, and her Master's Degree from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, graduating at the top of her class, Summa Cum Laude.

Her work experience was varied and rewarding. While studying, she worked as a Civil Service File Clerk in D.C. and as an Assistant to the Librarian at both Barber-Scotia College and Oberlin College. After graduating, she returned to Barber-Scotia College where she served for a number of years as Director of the Nursery-Kindergarten Laboratory Training School, Instructor of Religious Education and Dean of Women.

She was married to the late Rev. Dr. Percy Smith Jr. (married 51 years at the time of his passing on Feb. 28, 2008), and served with him in AME Zion churches of North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, California and returned to North Carolina where they retired after more than 50 years of service. Due to the pastoral appointments of her late husband, she taught schools in Asheville, Williamston and Oak City and Knoxville, Tenn.

In 1965, she was employed by the Montgomery Alabama Community Action Program where she was the Chairman of the Head Teachers and served with distinction on the Head Start Newsletter Staff at the inception of the Head Start Program. While living in San Francisco, she worked at Florence Crittenton Center for Unwed Mothers.

For many years she served as a church administrative assistant and local preacher at her husband's side. She and Rev. Smith retired from their lifelong service to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, but not from serving their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Together they created the international AME Zion Church logo, which was presented and accepted at the 1984 AME Zion General Conference of St. Louis.

She was preceded in death by brothers Ezra and Grant Gilliam; and sisters Lettie Alston and Lola Gibson.

She leaves to cherish her memory daughter Ava Abrams (Rudy) and four grandchildren, Eric and Erica Abrams, James (Missy) and David (Dianca) Kelly and great-grandson Jacob; son Richard (Karen) and four granddaughters, Aubry (Rashid) Kabia and great-grandsons, Thomas and Eli and another one on the way, Bryanna, Camryn and Taylor Smith; son Frederick (Vanessa) and grandchildren Anthony (Cherish), Christina, Christianna and Antonia Smith; and son Paul (Donna) and grandchildren Christian, Tessa, Alyssa and Marissa Smith; sisters Clara Nicholson and Ruth Leigh; brother Calvin Gilliam; sister-in-law Mrs. Marion Gilliam. She also leaves wonderful memories to many nieces, nephews, former church members, neighbors and friends.

A blog may be found at

Visitation is at 12:30 p.m. and Funeral 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 16, at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church, 306 N. Church St., Salisbury, N.C. 28144, Rev. Grant Harrison, pastor.

Delayed Interment: 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 18, at VA Medical Center Cemetery of Salisbury.

Funeral arrangements are by Hairston Funeral Home, Salisbury.
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Hairston Funeral Home - Salisbury
703 S. Main St.
Salisbury, NC 28144
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Published in Salisbury Post on Aug. 13, 2014
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