Murfreesboro lost a compassionate leader Saturday morning (5/31/2014) when former Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Beth Smith passed away.
Visitation with the family will be Saturday, June 7, 2014 from 10:00 am until the Celebration of Life at 1:00 pm at Murfreesboro Funeral Home with Bro. Russ King and Bro. Dan Dozier officiating.
Habitat President Dan Johnson
Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity President Dan Johnson said, "She was a caring good woman who gave her all to helping families get proper housing. Habitat was Beth's love and dedication. She devoted her life to helping people. I always joked with her that she was the daughter that we never had. Knowing Beth was a blessing to all of us. She was a good Christian and loved by all. She will be missed."
State Representative John Hood
Former State Representative John Hood of Murfreesboro commented, "Beth Smith was such a wonderful leader for Habitat for Humanity. It was never a job to her, but a calling as she worked tirelessly to provide housing to those in need. What a beautiful person she was, both inside and out. She will be missed by so many. I enjoyed her wonderful personality and treasured her genuine friendship."
Past Rotary District Governor Dick Bowers
Past District 6760 Rotary Governor Dick Bowers said, "It was at a Habitat for Humanity gathering about 15 years ago that I met Beth. She was heading up Habitat in Murfreesboro and my about-to-be wife was the Habitat chief south of Knoxville, in Blount county. The two women hit it off right away, and were a true dynamic duo.
A few years later, my path with Beth crossed again, this time through Rotary. Doing good in your community and in the world were values that Beth radiated. We worked together in Rotary and Beth became known as the 'go-to gal', willingly taking on whatever job that needed doing. And whatever she took on, she finished with aplomb and style.
Some of my fondest memories of Beth were at a Rotary District Conference that took in Jackson, TN on a stormy weekend in 2010 that had tornadoes touching down nearby. Throughout that hectic day, Beth was making good things happen. And, when the storms passed, we gathered around the piano and Beth sang torch songs and blues like I could not believe. I will miss you, my friend. I take comfort in thinking of all the good you did and the many, many lives you touched, healed and enriched."
State Senator Jim Tracy
State Senator Jim Tracy noted, "Beth was a wonderful Christian woman who dedicated her life to Habitat for Humanity. Beth loved helping people - it was her calling and her life's work. We all owe Beth a debt of gratitude for her compassion and service to the mission of Habitat for Humanity. She leaves all of us with a special legacy to remember and an example to follow in the years to come. My deepest sympathies to her family and to everyone who loved Beth."
Former Educator and Entrepreneur Becci Bookner
Rotary friend, former educator and founder of Family Staffing Solutions Becci Bookner commented, "Beth was a dear friend of mine. We met in Leadership Rutherford in 2005. I was truly blessed to call her friend.
Beth taught me about life. No matter what it deals you, like it or not, you carry on. She was a beautiful, soft, wonderful person....both inside and out.
Her love for Habitat for Humanity was one of happiness for what this non-profit offered and the way lives were happily changed. Beth's own life changed as well. For many years, over and over she battled cancer, but her grace and love for life, her faith in God, and all the people that surrounded her life always put her first and the cancer second. In the end, this uncaring, unfair, cruel disease may have taken her from us, but it did not win. Beth is the one who won her battle with a continued beautiful smile, her love of people, her laughter, and her showering of hugs that cared for so many others...first and foremost.
I will miss my dear friend.....there is no doubt. But that beautiful smile and her laughter, her decision to live life as she did everyday....those memories will continue to make any bad day shine bright again.
Thanks for the memories, honey! We will always love you."
Chief of Police Glenn Chrisman
Murfreesboro Police Chief Glenn Chrisman said, "Along with many others, I am saddened to learn of Beth Smith's passing. I was blessed to spend time with Beth in many meetings connected to Habitat for Humanity and its partnership with Murfreesboro Police, among many others.
Beth truly had a servant's heart, and she shared her energy, time and considerable talents with those who sought opportunities for improving their lives and living conditions.
Her faith strengthened her for the health challenges she faced in recent years. She fought her illness with the same passion and dedication she brought to the Habitat families she mentored. Whether at Habitat for Humanity, Noon Rotary, or in any other setting, she always led with grace, compassion and professionalism."
Always Put Others First
Beth believed that being positive was the best way. In fact, on August 10, 2012, Beth was on WGNS to share feelings about her fifth battle with cancer. She strongly felt that there was a reason she was here . . .
During that radio broadcast, she encouraged people to "know their body, and if something does not feel right--quickly go to your doctor". . . .
Beth told listeners that her first battle with cancer was when she was in her twenties, and a student at MTSU. The next round was about 15-years later. Both of those were breast cancer cases. In 2005 colon cancer was discovered, and about six-months later ovarian cancer cells were confirmed. Then seven years later, her fifth battle was a recurrence of ovarian cancer.
Never Did Anything Half-Way
Beth Smith always enjoyed helping others, and one of her favorite projects with Rotary was giving out dictionaries to all third grade students. She coordinated this literacy program for several years, up until her health issues became a challenge. Under Beth's leadership, over 10,000 local students received dictionaries.
One person noted that Beth never got into anything half-way. And friends who were close to her commented that she was as brave in dying as she was in fighting for life.
Family & Arrangements
Beth is survived by Richard Smith, her loving and devoted husband of 15 years. In fact, hey just celebrated their fifteenth anniversary about 3-weeks ago. She also enjoyed her fifty-fourth birthday on April 23rd.
Beth graduated from Fayetteville Central High School and Middle Tennessee State University.
She was the daughter of the late Dorothy Wilson McAlister of Fayetteville, Tennessee and William Donald McAlister of Old Hickory, Tennessee, who survives. She is further survived by her step mother, Vickie Haley McAlister. Beth is also survived by loving brothers and sisters through marriage, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephew and cousins galore.
Beth and Richard worshiped with the congregation at Rural Hill Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. In lieu of flowers, a contribution to Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity, Rural Hill Church of Christ, Rutherford County Humane Society or P.A.W.S. would have pleased Beth immensely.
If You're Facing A Challenge
For those who may be facing a challenge, perhaps hearing all of the WGNS' broadcast with Beth Smith on August 10, 2012 might help you.