Gloria Carlene Smith
1933 - 2021
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Gloria Carlene Smith
Gloria Carlene Smith joined her parents, Pearl and Carl Swann, and her brother, Ronald Swann, in heaven on April 3, 2021. She transitioned with grace and dignity on her own terms. She was surrounded by her family in her final hours. Her spirit, her divine soul, the light that she is, will live on infinitely with her Lord and family. She was a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, and so much more.
Carlene was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Houston on October 26, 1933. She grew up in Houston's East End, graduating from Austin High School. She studied business, psychology and development under Elsa Rosborough at the University of Houston. She spent happy days in the country with her family in Tabor, Texas with her Aggie uncles Raymond McCallum, John T. McCallum, and Alex McCallum and aunts.
She worked in accounting and payroll at her father's business, Swann Ice. She married Lt. Lee Roy Smith, Jr., the son of Alta and Lee Roy Smith Sr. on October 1, 1955. Lee Smith received a commission upon graduation from the University of Houston and was stationed in Sendai, Japan. She joined him on Easter Sunday of 1956, traveling by ship to the harbor at Yokohama. The newlyweds lived in Japan, traveling to Kyoto, Osaka, and Nikko before returning to Houston's East End in 1957. They bought their first home in 1960 in Houston's Glenbrook Valley when Lee worked for E.H. Sargent.
The family moved to Richardson, Texas where Carlene worked as a substitute teaching physical education at her children's school. She and Lee later moved their young family to Spring, Texas in 1974, where they still reside. She traveled with her husband to Europe and Egypt.
Carlene sewed school clothes for her daughters and their Barbie dolls. Her kitchen counters were graced with science fair exhibits featuring erupting volcanoes and colorful salt maps. Once her children reached driving age, Carlene was sewing new headliners in classic cars as she taught them the value of making something old new again.
Carlene was artistic, she painted, created pottery and unique floral designs for Cornelius Nursery. She enjoyed westerns and film classics Lonesome Dove, My Favorite Wife and American Graffiti. Lee gifted her with a vintage 1956 Thunderbird convertible, just like the one in the film for her birthday.
Carlene was a loving mother and wife who always put her family first. She raised her family in a Christian household by teaching core values, providing wise guidance, and preparing her children for adulthood, giving them great responsibility at an early age. Her positive outlook on life and sense of humor established the foundation of a warm and loving home. Carlene was truly the epitome of a perfect mother.
She is survived by her husband of 66 years, their five children, eleven grandchildren, and two great grandsons: Michelle Leigh Smith, with daughters Katharine Lauren and Jacqueline Leigh Gilliam and husband Adam with great grandsons, Ivory Nolan and Owen Mitchell Gilliam; Martin Keith Smith with children: Harrison Keith, Alec Michael, Jeptha Andrew, and Larkin Caroline; Craig Smith and his wife Lori; Karla Hardison with daughters, Jade Lynn, Gena Nicole, and Emma Rae; and Lee Roy Smith III, his wife Becky with daughters: Sarah Elizabeth and Lindsay Nicole.
Friends and family are invited to a memorial visitation will be held at Klein Funeral Home at 16131 Champion Forest, Spring, TX 77379 at 5 to 8 PM. on Friday, April 9, 2021. In place of flowers, the family suggests memorials go to Alexander United Methodist Church, 5300 Alexander Cemetery Rd, Bryan, TX 77808, 979.589.2793 Website: The family will gather graveside at Forest Park, 6900 Lawndale, on Saturday, April 10 at 3 PM.

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Published in Houston Chronicle on Apr. 8, 2021.
05:00 - 08:00 PM
Graveside service
03:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
April 9, 2021
Condolences to the Smith family. I have fond memories of the fun visits at the Smith house.
Carlene had a great sense of humor. Carole Jones Stern
Carole Stern
April 9, 2021
I will always remember Charlene as a second mom, ready to help whenever needed when us Erickson kids would run across the alley in Dallas. She was a blessing to everyone. I am happy for her to be in the welcoming arms of Jesus Christ.
Lori Erickson
April 9, 2021
May deep condolences to the family, especially Lee Roy. I won’t be able to attend but I will keep the family in my thoughts and prayers.
Tish Meehan
April 9, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will always remember you.
Juana Quezada
April 8, 2021
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