Mattie Smith

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Mattie Etha Emanuel Smith April 14, 1925 - June 11, 2014 NILES - Mattie Etha Emanuel Smith, age 89 years, of Niles, Michigan died at 12:09 a.m. on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at her home following an extended illness. She was born on April 14, 1925 in Benton, Mississippi to the Rev. Orange Homer and Mrs. Viola (Holmes) Johnson. She was raised by her aunt, Etha Bennett in Chicago, where she was graduated from high school, and was employed in various offices of the United States government. On October 1, 1950 in Chicago she married James A. Emanuel, Ph.D. They moved as a family, with their son, James A. Emanuel, Jr. to New York City, where she continued federal employment with the U.S. Navy. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the Columbia University in the City of New York in 1968. Dr. Emanuel received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Grenoble, France, to which she and their son followed him to live for a year, returning to New York in 1969. She continued her studies at the Teacher's College of Columbia University, earning a Masters Degree in Government in 1971, and began a teaching career in the public schools of Yonkers, New York. She taught social studies, and introduction to foreign languages, for which she studied briefly in Guadalajara, Mexico. On June 28, 1980 in Mount Vernon, New York she married Almstead Nelson Smith, Ph.D. In January of 1983, her son, James Emanuel, Jr. died; and that same year in December Dr. Smith died. Etha retired from the Yonkers Public Schools in 1987 and moved to South Bend, Indiana. In 1989 she settled in Niles to be near family. Etha had been a long-time member of the Franklin African Methodist Episcopal Church in Niles, and more recently became a member of the Niles Westside Seventh-day Adventist Church. She enjoyed traveling both throughout the United States, and internationally. She also enjoyed live theater and public discourse on politics, history, and sports, much of which she was able to experience as a volunteer to the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan. She also volunteered with the Pawating Auxiliary at Lakeland Community Hospital in Niles Mattie was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands and son, and by ten siblings: brothers, John W., Daniel W., Jennings Alvin, Sylvester, Joe Kelly, James D., and Leonard O. Johnson, and sisters, Vera Henrietta Waugh, Velmarie Fouch‚, and Gertrude Johnson, who died in infancy. Surviving family includes two sisters-in-law, Theresa (Mrs. John W.) Johnson of Saint Louis, Missouri and Wyvonne (Mrs. Joe K.) Johnson of Niles; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins of several generations including Etha Fouch‚, Bettie J. Walker, and Lenard E. Fouch‚, M.D., each of whom helped provide her care. The funeral service for Mattie Etha Emanuel Smith will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014 at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles with the Rev. Darrel le Roux of Niles Westside SDA Church officiating, assisted by the Rev. Rebecca Mitchell of Franklin AME Church. Committal will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles. The family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Contributions in memory of Mattie may be made to the Niles Westside SDA Church, Franklin AME Church, or the Berrien County Cancer Service.

Funeral Home
615 E MAIN ST Niles, MI 49120
(269) 683-3000
Funeral Home Details
Published in South Bend Tribune on June 16, 2014
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