D. Maxine Smith

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D. Maxine "Granny" (Browning) Smith, 78, of Sandyville, W.V., surrounded by her loving family and friends at her home, went to be with her Heavenly Father late Wednesday evening, September 18, 2013 following a diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer in June, 2013. A graveside service will be held on Sunday, September 22, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. at Meadowdale Cemetery, Sandyville, W.V, with a half hour viewing before the service starts. Family and friends may send their condolences to the Smith family at 7154 Liverpool Road, Sandyville, W.V. 25275.

Maxine was born in Camp Creek, Boone County, W.V. to Isaac and Edna (Kearse) Browning on September 15, 1935 and raised on property that had been in her family for over one hundred years. After graduating from Scott High School, Class of 1954, Madison, Boone County, W.V., Maxine met a handsome veteran of the U.S. Army, Charles "Charley" H. Smith, from Morrisville, Boone County, W.V. whom had recently returned home from servicing in the Korean War and awarded a Korean War service medal with five bronze service stars, while attending church. Charley quickly won Maxine's heart (and soon Maxine's mother's heart, who wittingly referred to Charley as "the man who thought he owned Camp Creek", because of his walking stride up Camp Creek to court Maxine), and the two were married on May 20, 1955. Soon the loving two started a family and gave birth to their first daughter, Sherry Rae Smith, and then to their second daughter, Vickie Lynn Smith.

Charley and Maxine both come from a long generational line of proud W.V. coal miners and farmers, and having grown up in the Depression-era Appalachia, the two were part of the Appalachian migration, often referred to as the "Great Migration", to northeast Ohio that occurred during the span of the 1940s - 1970s. To better the lives of their darling girls, Charley and Maxine left their Boone County family and friends, whom several would later join them, and moved to Cleveland, OH. Maxine being a tall striking redhead had no trouble landing her first job in Cleveland as an "elevator girl" for The Haley Brothers Building in downtown Cleveland. The Haley Brothers would later approach Maxine to be a model for their company, but Maxine being a shy farm girl from Boone County, declined the offer. Following her "elevator girl" days, Maxine later worked for Modern Tool and Die Company and American Greetings Corporation where she befriended ladies who would remain her lifelong friends. While living in Cleveland, Charley and Maxine were members of the Bethel Church of the Nazarene.

When their girls were teenagers, Charley and Maxine moved to North Ridgeville, Ohio. While living in North Ridgeville, Charley and Maxine were instrumental in the founding and building of the Calvary Ridge Church of the Nazarene in 1974 and serving on its board. Maxine served as the church's treasurer, a steward, and as one of its Sunday school teachers.

On a trip home in the summer of 1976 to W.V. to see family and friends, Charley convinced Maxine to stop and see at a rural farm for sale on Liverpool Road off of Route 21 in Sandyville, W.V. and in August of 1976, Charley and Maxine purchased it. With the purchase of the farm and back in their beloved W.V., Charley and Maxine started a new chapter in their life together. Charley applied for a school bus driver position with the Jackson County Board of Education and Maxine found herself in a new role as a homemaker. In addition, Charley and Maxine joined a local church, Ripley Church of the Nazarene. Maxine served on the church's board and held the positions of secretary and treasurer, was a member of the church choir, a Sunday school teacher and for several summers, arts and crafts teacher for Vacation Bible School. Charley and Maxine opened their home to visiting missionaries, one from Zimbabwe, Africa, and to many visiting youth groups and choirs from area Churches of the Nazarene. Charley and Maxine would later become members of the Ravenswood Church of the Nazarene.

Charley and Maxine enjoyed and loved children. Their love for children and their remolded farmhouse that Charley had completed, lead them to the next chapter in their life together as foster parents for the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources. In addition to foster parenting, Maxine became the primary caregiver for her adult special needs brother and sister, Cebert Isaac and Patricia Ann Browning, whom resided with Charley and Maxine until their respective deaths. During their time as foster parents, Charley and Maxine had over forty children to go through their home for whom they provided love and care for. Charley and Maxine never hesitated to open their loving home to family and friends in need.

Much to Charley and Maxine's delight, their daughters moved their families to the farm. This allowed Charley and Maxine, to start another chapter in their lives as grandparents and exceptional grandparents they were. Maxine valued education and had aspirations to be a school teacher. While Maxine did not fulfill her aspirations, Maxine taught weekly Bible lessons to her young grandchildren, conducted memorization lessons of The Lord's Prayer and The Ten Commandments, and during the summer months, conducted summer school lessons for grandchildren that may be struggling with a subject. Charley and Maxine tirelessly attended countless ball games, school functions, provided memorable vacations, outings and Christmas' to their dearly loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In October, 1985, Maxine got her home approved and certified as a specialized family care home and her approved and certified as a specialized family care provider with the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources to provide love and care for local special needs children. Maxine never retired as a provider and was providing care for a young man right up until her cancer diagnosis in June, 2013.

With her grim cancer diagnosis in June, 2013, Maxine's tenacity for life and sharing the gospel over the next three months never wavered. Maxine's life story is one that has been a love affair with God, embracing family and caring for others. One cannot share her life story, without including the love of her life, Charley, who held her hand at its every moment and each of its crossroads for over fifty-eight years and indicated it always made him proud to stand beside her. Maxine was a tireless daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Maxine enjoyed Maxine's grandchildren will forever miss her Christmas baking, chocolate and apple pies, cobblers, pizzas, her famous biscuits and apple butter, and her CoCo Wheat's made with boo-boos. Maxine enjoyed working in her flower gardens.

Maxine is preceded in death by her parents, Isaac and Edna Browning; brothers, Cebert Isaac, Herbert (infant), and Ernest Leroy Browning; and sisters, Irene (Browning) Dolin Boggs and Patricia Ann Browning.

Maxine is survived by her husband, Charles "Charley" H. Smith of Sandyville; daughters, Sherry Rae (Smith) Davis and Vicki Lynn (Smith) Cottrill (Ron), both of Sandyville; brother, Darrell Dewaine Browning (Barb) of West Salem, OH; sisters, Loretta Slena (Browning) Kinder of Ridgeview, W.V. and Eliza Lea Barbara (Browning) Harless (Wilbert) of Foster, W.V.; grandchildren, Melissa Ann Smith-Moore (Jonathan) of Nashville, TN, Christine Marie (Smith) Smith (Shadd) of Silverton, Jason Scott Michael (Jennifer) of Baltimore, MD, Rachelle Renee (Ghee) Casto (Zac) of Ravenswood, Adam Garrett Ghee (Kayla) of Murrysville, Gregory James Michael, Jennifer Lynn Michael, Alisha and Nikki Cottrill of both of Sandyville; darling great-grandchildren, Anthony Scott and Jasmine Renee Michael both of Sandyville, Jillian Spring and Silvia Rain Smith of Silverton, Noah Scott Michael, Jacob and Tori of Baltimore, MD, Skylar Brooke Mace and Mason Ariah Casto of Ravenswood and Iryn Nicholas Ghee of Murrysville, Nathan Michael. Maxine leaves behind much-loved cousins, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters-in-laws, friends and lifelong friends, brothers and sisters in Christ and her black Labrador, Abby.

The Smith family would like to specially thank Maxine's friend of over thirty-five years, Margie Hatfield of West Palm Beach, FL, whom Maxine viewed and treated as a daughter, and whose husband, Ken Hatfield, and their children, Jimmy and Kenny Hatfield of Wooster, OH and Maria (Hatfield) Johnson of Greenville, South Carolina, lovingly called her, "Granny", for joining them in the caring of Maxine during her last several weeks of her life here on earth.

In closing, the Smith family leaves you with one of Maxine's last testaments, "Be it ever remembered by my loved ones and friends that I have endeavored to live a Christian life. I urge each of them to build their own lives on the principles of Christ in whom can be found life's greatest values, both temporal and eternal."

Published in The Coal Valley News from Sept. 27 to Sept. 28, 2013