Edith Sowder Smith

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  • "I first met Edith Smith at LaFollette High School when I..."
  • "My favorite teacher of all time"
    - lula hicks
  • "To Angie and family ~ I am so sorry for your loss. Mrs...."
    - Glenda Heatherly Skibitzke
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    - Everice Sharp Shewmaker
  • "Mrs,. Smith was a great teacher and a gracious lady. She..."
    - Marilyn Peters Sebby
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Edith Sowder Smith, of LaFollette, died at home on May 30 surrounded by family.
Edith was born in White Oak in 1924 and grew up on a farm in Fincastle.
Her parents were William and Emma Sowder. Her father died when she was only 14 and her two brothers Paul and 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 Masters 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 rosebushes 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 said, "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; a daughter, Angie Francis; two sons, Pat and Quinn; two grandchildren, Adam and Claire Francis; two great-grandchildren, Boyd and Zachary Francis; niece, Linda Hollingsworth; nephew, Bill Sowder; 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 .
Visitation and funeral were June 3 at the First Presbyterian Church of LaFollette.
The Rev. David Maude officiated.
A graveside service was June 4 at the Fincastle United Methodist Church Cemetery.
Cross-Smith Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
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Cross Smith Funeral Home
300 East Central Avenue
La Follette, TN 37766
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Published in LaFollette Press from June 5 to June 12, 2014