SMITH, EDITH SOWDER - of LaFollette, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 30, 2014 surrounded by family. Edith was born in White Oak, Tennessee in 1924 and grew up on a farm in Fincastle, Tennessee. Her parents were William and Emma Sowder. Her father died when she was only 14 and her two brothers Paul, Quentin and she ran the farm. Edith attended LaFollette High School where she met the love of her life, Paul M. (Cooster) Smith. She attended Lincoln Memorial University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and later earned her Maters of Education degree from the University of Tennessee. Cooster and Edith were married in 1945. She began teaching English at LaFollette High School while Cooster was serving in the Navy in the Philippines. She taught senior English for many years and then became a counselor at the high school. She loved American and British literature and poetry. At home she frequently recited sonnets by Shakespeare and poems by Whitman, Longfellow, Keats, and Frost. As a counselor, she worked tirelessly to help students attend college. Edith was very involved in the community. She was a member of LaFollette Professional Women's Club, Campbell County Historical Society, and Town and Country Garden Club. She served two terms on the LaFollette Hospital Board of Directors. Roses were her passion. She had more than 150 rose bushes at her home which she cared for herself. Edith was a member of the Tennessee and American Rose Societies and a consulting Rosarian. She was a Master Flower Show Judge Emeritus and served as District 4 President for the National Council of Flower Show Judges. Edith was a woman of great faith. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of LaFollette where she taught Sunday school for many years and served as an elder. She also served as President of the East Tennessee Women's Presbytery. For Edith, the Sowder farm where she grew up was a very special place. She and Cooster bought the farm and lovingly restored the home. She loved entertaining there. Cooster improved the land and again, the Sowder-Smith farm is a working farm. Edith joined Cooster at Smith Hardware and Electric Company in 1978. She loved being at the store and working alongside her husband. Cooster says, "We were a great team." They retired from the store in 2001. After retirement, Edith enthusiastically continued being active in the Rose Society, serving in the church, and, taking care of her roses. She is survived by her husband, Cooster Smith; their daughter, Angie Francis; and, their two sons, Pat and Quinn. Edith and Cooster have two grandchildren, Adam and Claire Francis, and; two great-grandchildren, Boyd and Zachary Francis, niece, Linda Hollingsworth; nephew Bill Sowder; and, sister-in-law, Arizona Powell. The family is so very grateful to Edith's loving caregivers Melanie Miller, Becky Evans, Sherry Housley, and Jewell Lowe. In lieu of flowers, the family requests sending donations to the First Presbyterian Church of LaFollette, Tennova Hospice, or the
. The visitation of friends will be Tuesday, June 3rd from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. and the funeral will begin at 3:00 at the First Presbyterian Church of LaFollette. Reverend David Maude will be officiating. A graveside service will be Wednesday, June 4th at 10:00 a.m. at the Fincastle United Methodist Church Cemetery. Arrangements by Cross-Smith Funeral Home, LaFollette. Condolences can be given at www.cross-smtihfuneralhome.com
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Cross Smith Funeral Home
300 East Central Avenue LaFollette, TN 37766
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from June 2 to June 3, 2014