CAROLINA BEACH — Greta Smith, 78, passed away Saturday, April 15, 2017, surrounded by her five children and loving husband of 59 years.
Greta grew up in rural southern Ireland and was raised by her grandmother, grandfather and a great-grandfather. A young flower, nourished on stories of struggle and famine, she grew into a woman of passionate disposition singly dedicated to bringing beauty and love to this grey, grey world.
Educated more by the volumes of classic literature she consumed in the quiet nook of her home than from the black and white habits, literal and behavioral, of the nunnery school she attended, she left the Emerald Isle for the stage of London.
After gaining some initial praise for her creative skills, this path of her growth was redirected by the steady smile and southern drawl of the man who was to be the love of her life. Her meeting with our dad can only be described as a storybook romance; and a year later, she crossed the Atlantic to become his wife. They were married in 1957.
Once here, she set about creating a new home in the heart of our dad and at every place his military travels took their growing family. They finally landed here in Carolina Beach back in 1974, and mom set about transforming a ramshackle fishing cabin into our family home, which came to resemble a vale-set Irish country cottage with grounds populated by an unending variety of flowering plants, all in constant rebellion to structure and form, all embracing the chaos and vibrancy of life. It was one of her greater gifts – that ability to always make things better, to brighten-up any dark, dank corner, be it a barren piece of earth or the broken piece of a loved-one’s heart.
Mom was a singularity. Everyone who knew her can attest to her spunk and ceaseless drive. I shudder to think of what would have become of us were it not for her tireless love and the strength of her will. We are all blessed to have had her in our lives.
Greta is survived by her husband, Les; five children, Katie, Lora, Andrew, Luke and Jason; grandchildren, Cathleen, Patrick and Maggie; and great-grandchild, Collin. In addition, she had made many friends who now mourn among the congregation of St. Paul’s UMC and the sisters of her service sorority, the Beta Sigma Phi.
Over the years, Greta also provided a home to countless stray animals as well as to a few stray humans. In recognition of her desire to help any wounded or lost creature, we ask that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the American Animal Protection Society or a local no-kill animal shelter of your choosing.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 19, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Carolina Beach with the Rev. Shawn Blackwelder officiating. A reception with the family will be held before services at 11:30 a.m. Interment will be held in Oleander Memorial Gardens.