WILMINGTON — On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, Vonnell “Nell” Connor Smith, loving wife and mother of four children, passed away peacefully at her home at the age of 88.
Nell was born on April 25, 1934, in Tabor City, North Carolina, to Charlie Paul and Beulah M. Connor. Nell grew up on a small tobacco farm in Columbus County, North Carolina. It was here that she learned to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables from her mother, a gift she would use her entire life.
On September 3, 1950, at the age of 16, she married William Lewis Smith. Together they raised one daughter Marilyn and three sons, Dennis, Paul, and Phil. They remained married to this day for over 72 years.
Nell had a passion for her garden and flowers and it can be said that she is the only one in the immediate family with a green thumb. Her flowers were beautiful and reflected who she was as a person. Her flowers and garden were admired not only by her family but by the many friends that she made along the way. No matter the time of day, you would always receive a southern meal made from ingredients from her garden and the Carolina coastal waters next to her home.
Nell was known for her kindness and devotion to her church. She was always there for her friends and family and offered her wisdom on life’s challenges. She was an active member and enjoyed her Sunday School class at Winter Park Baptist as long as she could attend.
Nell was preceded in death by her father, Charlie Paul, her mother, Beulah, who resided with her for many years, and her beloved son-in-law, John Albano. She is survived by her husband, William, and her four children: Son Dennis Smith and wife Donna; daughter Marilyn Albano; son Paul Smith and wife Georgia; son Phil Smith and wife Lori; her brother Ted and sister, Thetus. Nell is also survived by several cousins, nieces, nephews, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC at 11:30 a.m. A graveside service will follow at Oleander Memorial Gardens. Flowers may be sent to the Winter Park Baptist Church at 4700 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403.