Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Hilsman Smith loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend left this world on January 26, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Florida. She passed away on her 83rd birthday. She was the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Milligan and Colonel Edward Hamilton Hilsman of Dade City, Florida. She cherished her stepfather, Hamilton Hayne, and his career took the family to several beautiful locations across the country. Beth was particularly fond of Evanston, Illinois. She would often share memorable experiences of attending boarding school at Kemper Hall in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Beth went on to study elementary education at Harcum College, University of Maryland and University of Georgia at Augusta. Her studies and love for teaching led her to rewarding positions as a kindergarten teacher early in her life. Beth met Leroy (Lee) Fleming Smith, Jr. while volunteering in a polio ward and married him in July 1959.
Beth and Lee raised their family in Alexandria, Virginia where her husband Lee had a thriving medical practice for 45 years. Their children attended St. Agnes and St. Stephen’s schools. The family enjoyed many activities at Belle Haven Country Club. Beth and Lee shared a passion for travel and particularly enjoyed taking the family to Europe. Family meant the world to Beth and Lee. She was a gracious hostess and gourmet cook. She delighted family and friends with sausage balls, cornbread casserole, baked Alaska and other decadent desserts. Beth had a love and gift for the arts. She taught herself to play the piano and would grace their home with beautiful music. Her experience as a teacher was evident in all the creative experiences/activities/”field trips” that she provided for her children. Summer vacations at Hilton Head, South Carolina included creating hats from local natural resources. Upon completion of the hats a parade ensued. Beth had a way of making every occasion a wonderful celebration including festive birthday parties for their beloved pets. Beth was a member of a very close “Lunch Bunch” of dear friends. When you were in Beth’s presence she made you feel loved and treasured. She enjoyed going to DC to the Smithsonian to take classes, see plays, historical sites and special events like the Capitol 4th. Beth bravely fought polio when she was a child and breast cancer in 2004.
Beth and Lee were blessed with four children: Leslie Smith (deceased) of Annapolis, MD, Powell Smith (Ellen) of Pine Mountain, GA, Edward Smith (Jennifer) of Waycross, GA, Abigail Miller (Brad) of St. Petersburg, FL, and grandchildren Virginia (Gingy) Smith, Mamie Smith, Asa Smith, Emma Smith, Harry Smith, Miles Smith, Charles Miller, and Elizabeth Miller. She is survived by sisters Kim Case (Glen), Pam Hayne and two brothers, Guy Hilsman and John Hilsman; dear cousins, Molly Lottridge, Jim Milligan and Mabel Crawford.
We will miss her dearly.
Beth’s beauty lives on in her children and grandchildren.
Beth is buried in Greenwich Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.
Gifts in her memory can be given to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) or Susan G. Komen for the Cure (komen.org)
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel