Primrose Y. (Millar) Smith, 95 died peacefully on Saturday, February 13, 2021, at Beaumont Nursing Center in Worcester after a short illness.
She was born in Worcester, January 20, 1926, the daughter of the late James and Isabella (Rintoul) Millar, was raised in Worcester and lived most of her life in Norfolk, MA in the home that she and her husband built in 1954.
She was predeceased by her husband of 40 years, Earle H. Smith, who died in 1992, daughter Carol Ann Smith who died in 2019 and infant grandson, Stephen Thompson Smith. She is survived by her son, David E. Smith and his wife Diane of Shrewsbury, MA, her grandson, James E. T. Smith and Partner, Carlee Simon of Denver, CO, her cousin, Lilian (Millar) Morris of Grove, Oxfordshire, England, and multiple generations of Smith, Hunter McCann and Thompson nieces, nephews and cousins.
Primrose or "Rose" was raised in Worcester. She was the only child born to parents that only a few years before had emigrated from Alloa, Scotland. The family was close and maintained ties with other Scottish immigrants as well as a steady stream of correspondence to grandparents and family back in Scotland. Her devotion to family and closest friends who became extended family would characterize her throughout her life. It also fostered a penchant for written correspondence, penned in her immaculate script, that would always bring a smile to the recipient often causing them marvel at her ability to compose such wonderful messages.
A studious pupil, she graduated from Worcester's Commerce High School in 1944 and subsequently from Salter Secretarial School. She went on to serve in positions at Worcester City Hall and Diamond Match Lumber Wholesalers. She enjoyed a forty-three years career at Rodman Ford/Minuteman Auto and Truck Centers. There her quiet demeanor belied a tenacity and remarkable ability for getting overdue receivables out of trucking companies before she finally elected to retire at the age of 82!
Primrose was a woman of deep faith, growing up in and later married at Hope Congregational Church in Worcester. Settling in Norfolk following her marriage, she and her husband became members of the Federated Church, teaching Sunday School there in the 1950's. She was a long-standing and one of the oldest members of the church. An assiduous student of the Bible she would enjoy conversing at length on the details, historical context and stories of any scripture.
Above all else, Primrose's life revolved around her family and a close circle of friends from childhood, the Boardman St. neighborhood and Federated Church, all of whom she treasured throughout her life. She could serenade family and friends with the piano and ply them with her famous homemade pies, coleslaw as only she could prepare it and a treat of hand-made chocolates and fudge from Watson's Candies. She counted herself blessed, delighted being with her family and doting on the family pets. One of her many gifts was her encyclopedic recall and throughout her entire life, she could regale us with an oral history of across multiple generations and branches of the family. With any family heirloom, she could recount the provenance, the family members and stories associated with it. Primrose always enjoyed family gatherings, along with the Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with family in Norfolk, Shrewsbury, North Grafton and Worcester. She also enjoyed life's simpler pleasures. Nothing beat her weekly lunch at the Horse & Carriage. A regular, she ordered the same dish every week, so much so that it was dubbed "the Primrose Special", always followed by a small hot fudge Sunday!
Over her long life, she enjoyed travels, near and far, visiting family in Scotland as a young girl and later in life with her children. In September 1939, she and her mother boarded the RMS Cameronia to return from a visit, cut short by the outbreak of WWII. The liner, carrying survivors from the Athenia, torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat days earlier, departed Glasgow as portholes were still being painted over. It was the first British liner to arrive in New York following the declaration of war. Later travels would include trips to pre-Castro Cuba, family vacations throughout New England, Florida and of course North Carolina throughout her grandson's college years. Late into her 80's, she would climb aboard the family's Boston Whaler and head offshore from their Southport cottage to enjoy the Maine ocean waters.
To her family and all who were blessed to know her, she will forever be remembered for her warmth and good-will toward all, her gentle smile, quiet dignity and grace.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Norfolk Police, Fire & EMT's, along with the teams at Walpole VNA and Salomon VNA & Hospice for their responsiveness, care and compassion
Due to the constraints associated with COVID, there will be no calling hours. However, the family welcomes your stories and recollections. A limited capacity service, conforming to safety protocols will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Federated Church of Norfolk on, February 24, 2021. Owing to limited capacity, advance confirmation those who planning to attend in person is required. The service will also be live-streamed and recorded for those unable to attend. Burial will follow at Norfolk Cemetery. Arrangements and service details are under the care of R.J. Ross Funeral Home, 135 South St, Wrentham, MA 02093. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Primrose's name may be made to Smith Family Fund Federated Church of Norfolk, 1 Union Street, PO Box 315, Norfolk, MA 02056.
An online guestbook may be found at: rjrossfuneralhomeinc.com.
Please refer to the funeral home website later this weekend for streaming address.