GREENSBORO, N.C. - Elizabeth Clay Smith, 43, died March 23, 2014, following a courageous fight with breast cancer.
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Born Jan. 8, 1971, Clay grew up in Burlington, N.C., graduating from Western Alamance High School. She attended University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned a BA in Psychology.
Clay's interest in helping individuals and organizations reach their full potential led her to a career in human resource management. She joined Pyramids Wellness Center in 1995 as the HR Director for their three separate locations. Over the next nine years, Clay worked to create a formalized HR program and a corporate culture that embraced excellent customer service as a core value.
Always eager for new challenges and growth opportunities, Clay joined Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro (HPCG) in 2004. She was promoted in 2011 to Vice President of Human Resources and Volunteer Services. Her many accomplishments included redesigning HPCG's annual performance management system, developing an employee mentoring program and new initiatives to enhance employee work/life balance and improve morale. Clay proactively addressed difficult employee issues and she eagerly sought out new opportunities to refine her managerial and leadership skills. Clay was a positive, energetic, and enthusiastic advocate for HPCG employees and volunteers and she was an exemplary role model for exceptional customer service.
Clay was passionate. She lived her faith, worked tirelessly, dreamed big and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of her life. She credits her grandmother, her parents and her wonderful brother for loving her so deeply and giving her the solid foundation that allowed her to soar.
Clay's belief in the importance of family led her to volunteer with organizations dedicated to the preservation, support and security of families of all configurations, especially those struggling with at–risk youth. Clay has been a tireless advocate for Youth Focus and the Guild of Family Services of the Piedmont (FSP) including serving as President of the FSP Foundation Board (Guild).
Clay was also very passionate about her profession. She saw human resources as the ultimate profession for those who enjoyed inspiring others to reach their full potential. She credited her membership in Human Resource Management Association of Greensboro (HRMAG) as being an integral part of her professional development. While she benefitted from many valuable educational and certification opportunities, she especially appreciated giving back as a mentor, a board member and president in 2012. That year, Clay was named Human Resource Professional of the Year by HRMAG.
When Clay's breast cancer made an aggressive return in 2012, she met the news with resolve and grace, determining she would live life fully, every day, by focusing on quality, not quantity … the same message she had been sharing with others for years about hospice care.
Recognizing that Clay's personal and professional life has centered on lifting others up, it is not surprising she found a meaningful way to tell her story about her cancer journey. Captured on webisodes on the Cone Health web site, Clay explains she cherishes each day, especially the normal ones, and that above all, she is not afraid to die. "We all have circumstances we wouldn't have chosen for ourselves but we make the journey by helping one another. I've had an amazing life."
While Clay took pride in all her accomplishments and activities, her most cherished role in life was that of a mother to her daughter.
Clay is survived by her daughter, Kathryn Smith, of the home and a student at Davidson College; her loving, supportive parents, Christie and Earl Parker Jr.; and father, Eddie Rascoe of Burlington, N.C.; brother, Eddie Rascoe and wife Shannon, along with beloved nephew, Kadin Rascoe, all of Burlington, N.C.; and dear friend, Rick Nault of Greensboro and his son, Hayden of Colorado.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 27, 2014, at Westover Church by the Rev. John Kimmons and the Rev Bob Vorhees.
The family will visit friends Wednesday, March 26, 2014, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hanes Lineberry North Elm Street Funeral Home.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Dr. Peter Rubin and Cone Cancer Center, Dr. Daniel Bensimhon and his staff at the Lebauer Heartcare Clinic and the care and friendship extended by the staff and volunteers of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro. A special thanks also goes to Clay's dear friends. She was so grateful to her caregiving team, her HPCG co-workers and her family for "letting her make this journey the way she needed it to be."
Please consider honoring Clay's memory with a gift to one of her civic passions: Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro's Patient Assistance Fund, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405, Family Service of the Piedmont, 315 E. Washington Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 or Youth Focus, 715 N. Eugene Street, Greensboro, NC 27401.
Online condolences may be made at www.haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com
Published in TheTimesNews.com from Mar. 24 to Mar. 25, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Hanes Lineberry Funeral Home
515 North Elm Street | Greensboro, NC 27401 | (336) 272-5157