Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Mrs. Smith peacefully slipped from this world to be with her Lord and savior on January 2, 2018 at Casa Maria Nursing Home at the age of 84. She was born to Clarence and Jewell Bryan on April 17, 1933 in Clinton Missouri. Both of her parents have preceded her in death.
Helen is by all accounts a native New Mexican. At the tender age of 2 years old her parents moved to Albuquerque New Mexico. Helen like most children loved to spend her days playing in the fields catching the critters that hide beneath rocks, or come winter time, prancing through the newly fallen snow as the last rays of light bounced off the Sandia Mountains. She was effervescent and full of vivacious energy. At the age of 16 she met the man who would be the one and only love of her life Tom Smith. He was 19 years old and rode his horse down dusty avenues around the Duke City. This caught her attention and soon the two were inseparable. In 1949 he asked for her hand and she said yes.
They spent the greater part of 40 years together first in Albuquerque (until 1960) then Belen. Tom started work on a dairy before moving on to PNM. She took the role of homemaker seriously and made sure their 4 girls were all fed well and dressed to impress. She sewed for hours at a time making the clothes that the family would wear. Pretty yellow dresses for the first day of school, new clothes for holiday attire, and even custom made clothes for the dolls of each of her daughters. She was a phenomenal cook, who did it more out of necessity, but skillfully as any chef. She could change lives with her chicken and dumplings or her beans and chile with cornbread. At one time she even began a small business out of her house decorating cakes on the side.
Mrs. Smith had a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ and she was a charter member of the Los Chavez Baptist Church of Los Chavez. She was a part of the church from its inspection as a small mission. The church for her was the connection of her Christian family and she made sure each of her daughters grew up in that church. Some of her girls even married in that same church later in life. She was a cornerstone of faith but pride and boasting was not something you would get from her. She demonstrated her faith in her actions and decisions showing many that the love of God could be seen rather than heard.
Helen and Tom left Belen in 1989 for Silver City after he retired and spent 16 years in the Gila Mountains but after several health scares decided to be closer to their girls and came out to Roswell in 2005. She had taken up quilting, which was more an act of serious intention rather than a successful completion, but she enjoyed it all the same. Her daughters often referred to her quilts as “UFO’s” (a.k.a. unfinished objects). She was an amazing seamstress and she taught this passion to her own children.
Though Mrs. Smith had been many places and was talented beyond measure with her sewing her legacy is greater than this. Her legacy extends beyond amazing home cooked meals or precise designs crafted magnificently onto her confectionary creations. Her legacy lives on in her family. The unconditional love she gave to her husband of 68 years; the unwavering and unbreakable dedication to her daughters exhibited in all times; and the true faith and love for her church. These intangible moments and feeling will permeate her family from generation to generation well beyond the years of any life.
Helen is survived by her husband Tom Smith of Roswell NM; daughters Judy Sneed of Roswell NM, Bonnie Beevers and Jim of Clovis NM, Sandy Gilmore of Roswell NM, and Sharon Gilmore of Roswell NM; brothers Bob Bryan of Belen NM, Bud Bryan and Dorthy of Albuquerque NM; sisters Anna Wood and Jimmy of Albuquerque NM; and sister-in-law Katy Bryan of California; 10 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and 5 great-great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her brothers Jim and John Bryan.
Pallbearers will be Kevin Gilmore, Cody Gilmore, Wesley Gilmore, Rusty Ferguson, Jason Lee, and Bubba Benevidez.
Services will be held Saturday January 6, 2018 at 10:00 AM at Los Chavez Baptist Church in Belen NM followed by burial at Sunset Memorial Park in Albuquerque NM.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.