Shirley's Story

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Shirley Sue Smith, 86, of Abilene, passed away Thursday, September 7, 2017. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at Westgate Church of Christ, 402 South Pioneer Drive. Burial will follow in Elmwood Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 on Tuesday, September 12, at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
Mrs. Smith was born November 4, 1930 in Cleburne, Texas to David and Esther Sowell. She graduated from Cleburne High School in 1948 and Abilene Christian College in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. She did her post-graduate work at the University of Texas.
Shirley was the wife of Shelley V. Smith, Sr., the founder of the West Texas Rehabilitation Center. The couple was married July 14, 1956 in Cleburne, Texas. He preceded her in death in 1990.
Mrs. Smith was a special education teacher for six years for the Abilene Independent School District at Bonham Elementary and the West Texas Rehab Center. She was also the Psychometrist at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center for several years. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were one of the five couples who started the Westside Church of Christ in 1962, which was later changed to Westgate Church of Christ in 1964. She was also a Sunday school teacher at the church.
She was a lifetime member of the PTA and former president of the Abilene City Council of PTA for two years, member and former president of Abilene Mother's Study Club, member and former president of the Abilene Woman's Club and chairman of the Abilene Woman's Club Foundation, member of the Abilene Philharmonic Board of Trustees, member of the Executive Board of West Texas Rehabilitation Center and the WTRC Foundation Board, friends of the ACU Library and co-president of the "Parents Group" of ACU. She also assisted her husband as president of the Lone Star Little League and was a Den Mother for the Cub Scouts. Shirley was an honorary member of Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International.
She was preceded in death by her parents, David and Esther Sowell, her husband, Shelley V. Smith, Sr., one grandson, Ian Matthew Smith and Georgia B. Sanders.
Shirley is survived by two sons, Shelley Vance Smith, Jr. and wife Sharon (Shari) of Pleasanton, Seth Austin Smith and wife Katelin of Dallas; one sister, Jane Kersten of Goodlettsville, Tennessee; one brother, David S. Sowell, III, MD and wife Claudia of Tulsa, Oklahoma; five grandchildren, Daniel J. Smith and wife Renee, Robert A. (Robby) Smith and wife Lora, Shelley Vanessa Smith and Jerry Slaton , Georgia Bronte Smith, and Willow Bailey Smith; four great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, 4601 Hartford, Abilene, Texas 79605; the Abilene Woman's Club Foundation, 3425 South 14th Street, Abilene, Texas 79605; or to the donor's favorite charity.
Memories may be shared and condolences submitted online at: www.HamilFamilyFuneralHome.
Published on September 11, 2017
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