SMITH, Elizabeth Margaret|
Elizabeth Margaret Smith passed away peacefully on March 27, 2014 after a courageous battle with melanoma. Her final days were spent peacefully in the company of her family and close friends. Born October 9, 1969, Elizabeth graced this world with an abundance of kindness, class and good humor.
She twice battled cancer, surviving Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of fifteen. This cancer tested the depths of her physical strength and mental stamina, and she would come to rely on that courageous spirit to help her fight melanoma years later. With the unyielding support of her family and friends Elizabeth dove into traditional and alternative treatments to heal her body and soul. She was well read, exceedingly curious, and unabashedly determined in her latest fight against the disease.
Elizabeth is survived by her devoted mother, Diana Stallings Tilley; her loving husband, Russell Smith; three adoring children, Emily, Adam and Katherine; sister in law Cristina Tilley and her two children Caroline and Margaret; mother and father in law, Karla and R.B. Smith; brother in law, Roger Smith, his wife Colleen and their three children, Claudia, Camille and Samuel. In addition, she leaves behind a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins on both her mother and father's sides.
Elizabeth is preceded in death by her father Charles Tilley and brother Paul Tilley.
Hers was a childhood filled with laughter, mostly brought on by her brother who could bring her to tears with his antics. Elizabeth lived most of her life in Austin, but had the opportunity with her father's work to spend part of her elementary years overseas in Abu Dhabi. She was always grateful for this time in which she was able to experience different cultures while exploring Europe and Asia with her family. She briefly lived in Houston during junior high, but relished being able to return to Austin, reuniting with childhood friends and attending Austin High School, where she became a member of the high-kicking Red Jacket drill team.
She attended The University of Texas where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, making many enduring friendships. She graduated from UT in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Elizabeth and Russell met at their first jobs out of college and were married at Tarrytown United Methodist Church in 1994. Early in their marriage they lived in San Francisco where Elizabeth worked in banking and they had the opportunity to travel and enjoy all that northern California has to offer. Before having children, they spent much of their time boating with friends, traveling and starting a home building business.
The two of them were a wonderful team, sharing the duties of parenting while also saving time for themselves as a couple. Their creativity and mutual respect complemented each other. Together, they designed, renovated and built several beautiful homes for their family, and Elizabeth's tasteful sense of style and space was evident in each one. A self-taught artist, her favorite works were those inspired by and created for her children.
A tremendously devoted mother to her children, Elizabeth was so proud of each of them, encouraging and embracing each one's unique talents and personalities. She passed on her love and value of family by taking them to the boisterous Tilley family gatherings and regular trips to California to spend time with her Stallings aunts, uncles and cousins. The experiences, laughter, stories and memories she shared with them will endure forever. Her family and friends are committed to keeping Elizabeth's memory alive so that her children will always know what a gracious and remarkable woman she was.
A loyal friend to so many, Elizabeth cultivated friendships with people from many circles throughout her life including high school, college, the neighborhood, Casis Elementary, book clubs, The Junior League of Austin, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Centering Prayer Group and Tarrytown United Methodist Church. She was a tall, beautiful woman who carried herself with a grace and calming presence. To her friends she will be remembered as genuine to the core, without pretense, loyal and above all, kind.
The final seven years of Elizabeth's life were filled with more personal loss and hardship than any one person should ever have to face. She repeatedly picked herself up during this time, becoming more self-aware, centered and devout. She used her experiences to help others deal with their own misfortune and will be remembered forever for her optimism and fortitude in the face of adversity.
Her family would like to thank the staff at Hospice Austin's Christopher House for their tender care of Elizabeth in her final days. Appreciation also goes to Wonders & Worries, which continues to guide the children through their loss, and to the many family members, friends and neighbors who rallied around them with kindness and encouragement during the last several years of her life.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30 pm on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2601 Exposition Boulevard, Austin, TX, followed by a reception at 2806 Stratford Drive.
To honor those who have supported Elizabeth and her family, please consider making a donation in her name to Wonders and Worries.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 29 to Mar. 31, 2014