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EVANGELIST ELVERA SMITH
Elvera Jacqueline (Westmoreland) Smith was born in Terra Cotta, Greensboro North Carolina on September 29, 1929, to the late James Allen Westmoreland and Margaret Rae (Hayes) Westmoreland. She quietly slipped away into eternity early Sunday morning on January 29, 2023.
Elvera started her formal education at Grace Lutheran school in Greensboro. On January 29th, 1942 at the age of thirteen she, her brother Johnathan and mother moved to Newark, N.J. Here she attended Charleston St. Elementary School and Southside High School. She later attended Essex County School of Practical Nursing where she earned her practical nursing license. Elvera was the first black practical nurse to work in Elizabeth General Hospital. She also worked at Cripple Children’s Hospital, and Doctors Hospital both in Newark.
On September 28, 1947 Elvera joined William Smith in Holy Matrimony. Six children were born to this union. At the time of her passing Elvera was the mother of a blended family of 13 (birthed, adopted and foster) children.
Elvera was a faithful member of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Newark N.J. for more than 37 years. She was actively involved in the Gospel Chorus, AWT Chorus, the nurses unit, the Jr. Missionary, Sunday School, and Deaconess Ministries. While serving at Mt. Pleasant she answered the call of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel and was licensed by her Pastor the late Rev. T. Van B. Rhoe.
In April of 1988 Grandma (as she was affectionately called by family and many acquaintances) moved her family to Troutman, North Carolina. She immediately joined Shinnsville United Church of Christ where she continued teaching, preaching and sharing the gospel. She was well known for her poetic recitations especially The Sixty-six Books of the Bible, James Weldon Johnson’s Creation and Tommy’s Prayer. She was rarely ever seen without a hat especially on Sunday which earned her the honor of being called THE HAT LADY. Grandma was truly a blessing to many people. Many young mothers looked to her for advice as she helped raise and care for more than 72 children in her life time. In 2012 her daughter Trina was admitted into the Brian Health and Retirement Center. Trina looked forward to the weekly BINGO games at the Center especially since Grandma would participate by calling the game and giving out treats. Everyone at the center called her grandma no matter how old or young they were. Grandma loved to play SCRABBLE. She and her friend Miss Lee would play for hours. For many years she was an avid bowler. She also liked to crochet, do jigsaw puzzles, collect Angels and Mickey Mouse paraphernalia. If you grew up in Grandma’s house you knew how much she loved to listen to and sing gospel songs and hymns. Two of her favorite songs you would often hear her sing were “ His Eye Is On The Sparrow” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand”. On Thanksgiving Day 2021 grandma was blessed when a friend of the family had her favorite artist Shirley Caesar to call her. Needless to say, she was truly elated . On May 29, 2021 almost all of Grandma’s children and children’s children gathered at Duke Power State Park to hear her share highlights from her 92 years of living. Finally, if you knew Grandma you know how much she liked to make people laugh. It was always a joy to be in her presence.
Elvera-Grandma leaves to honor and cherish her memory, one brother Herbert Plaire (Cordelia) , eight daughters, Jacqueline Finney (Sheldon), Yvonne Smith, Gwendolyn Smith, Latanya Freeman, Chariel Smith, Desiree Smith, Ameedah Smith, and Veedis Kimble (Travis). One son Akeem Smith (Ashley). Twenty- eight grandchildren. A host of great grand and great- great grandchildren, cousins ,nieces, nephews and friends, two special friends who were like sisters Melrose Lee and Laura Mae Daye.
Elvera was predeceased by parents James and Margaret Westmoreland, her husband William Smith, her brother Johnathan Westmoreland, three sons, Rodrict Smith, Leonard Smith and Eugene Smith, and one daughter Trina Daniels.
Elvera’s Motto: Where there’s life, there is Hope and with God all things are possible. You can’t hurry God so be patient while you wait.
Family will be traveling to North Carolina.
In lieu of flowers the family suggest a plant.