Barbara Ann Smith fell asleep at home on July 10, 2021 and woke up in her new home with Jesus where she was reunited with Paul, her childhood sweetheart and husband of almost 59 years. She was 86 years old. Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Barbara was the oldest of the five Spradlin children.
After moving to Kenova, West Virginia it wasn’t long before she caught the eye of sixteen-year old Paul Smith who conveniently lived across the street. She was fourteen. After seven years of courtship, they married on January 11, 1957.
Barbara was not only a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Kenova until 1994, but also served as church secretary, church cook, and fellow youth choir trip chaperone with Paul for their own children and so many more. She led the children’s choirs for years. The two of them raised more Kenova kids than they could count. Their home was the hang out place for Michael, Kimberly, and their friends.
Her love for home and family filled Barbara’s heart to the point of overflowing to all who had the joy of knowing her. Making mealtime a priority for her own family, there was always room for one, two, three, or more chairs to pull up to the table. Family was her heartbeat, and hospitality was one of her many God-given gifts. Those who tasted them will agree that her recipes were heavenly and that her ability to serve meals at the perfect temperature to several hundred people at the same time was nothing less than miraculous.
Even more than her extraordinary recipes was the time and attention she gave to family, friends, and all who needed an ear to listen, a word to comfort, and a heart to care. Many found in her a mother, Mimi, and confidant. You always felt like a better you after being with her. And when she got tickled, you did too. Barbara was also scrappy enough to pull herself through a tough childhood and tender years as Paul’s caregiver.
After serving for more than twenty years as the church secretary of First Baptist Kenova, she and Paul moved in 1994 to Franklin to be close to their children and grandchildren. Their ministry together has touched the homeless at Room in the Inn and their well-fed but spiritually hungry neighbors. With Barbara, no one was homeless, and everyone was fed.
Barbara’s life is celebrated by her children, Michael (Debbie) Smith and Kimberly (David) Bennett; eight grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren: Ryan (Patti) Smith and their four children; Whitney (Jack) Mooring and their four children; Tyler (Sarah) Smith and their five children; Anna Bovi and her two daughters; Emily (Sam) Hancock and their daughter; Mary Claire Bennett and her daughter; Caroline, and Sarah Kate Bennett. Barbara is survived by sisters Delores Brant and Janice (Paul) Clary.
As much as she loved and cared for her family, friends, and anyone who walked through her door and sat at her table, Barbara loved Jesus, and her heart beat for Him. You may honor Barbara by supporting Rocketown of Middle Tennessee and Adoration Hospice, Madison, TN. Visitation will be 2:00–4:15 pm Wednesday, July 14 with a celebration service to follow at 4:30 in the Theatre near Entrance B at Church of the City, 828 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin, TN.