Ruby Marilyn Phelps Smith, 90, passed away on Monday, February 10, 2020, at her home in Denver, N.C.
She was born on July 30, 1929, in Charlotte, N.C., to the late LeVerne Malcolm Phelps and Ruby Sharpe Phelps.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her precious daughter, Becky Burns.
An avid reader and lover of crossword puzzles, Marilyn graduated from Central High School in Charlotte in 1947 and spent two years studying English at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now known as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro).
After raising her children, she worked as an insurance underwriter for Continental Insurance, Amerisure Insurance and Royal Insurance. Later, she worked as a registrar and served as the chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Elections, a role that brought her much happiness and civic pride, from 1991-1997.
Over the years, Marilyn was a member of Kilgo UMC, Providence UMC and, for the past 40 years, Bethel UMC in Denver, where she taught children’s Sunday school for many years. She was also involved in many outreach ministries, including Meals on Wheels.
Marilyn is survived by her husband TJ Smith, son Danny Burns (Kathy) of Greensboro, daughter Bobbi Sherrill (David) of Charlotte, daughter Laura Crowell (Scott) of Huntersville and sister Carolyn Slack of Charlotte. Known to her grandchildren as Grandma M/Emmy, she is also survived by her grandchildren, Amber Copple (Doug) of Oak Ridge, N.C., April Holland of Cornelius, N.C., Keith Burns (Dayna) of Greensboro, Jamie Sherrill of Charlotte, Robbie Sherrill of Charlotte, Hayley Curry (Drew) of Charlotte, Austin Crowell (Chelsea) of Columbia, S.C., and Andrew Crowell of Huntersville, as well as five great-grandchildren, Anna, Jacob and Ava Copple of Oak Ridge, N.C., and Sophie and Luke Holland of Cornelius.
She had a unique, wonderful sense of humor, and her family meant everything to her. Marilyn was a great supporter of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as they pursued their passions, from sports to careers to writing. She never hesitated to be goofy and have fun with the children in her life, and she never passed up an opportunity to teach them something new, from “what the dam does” (it holds back the water and generates electricity) to Spanish vocabulary.
An animal lover, she also gave a loving home to many dogs and cats over the course of her lifetime. Her cat, Coco Chanel Number 5, was a faithful companion to the very end.
Throughout her life, Marilyn loved learning new things and using her knowledge to try to answer as many of the clues as possible during her nightly “Jeopardy!” viewings (a habit that she has passed on to many of her descendants).
Marilyn adored her peaceful home on Lake Norman that she shared with her loving husband TJ. It brings the family great joy to know that Marilyn was able to spend her final days in the place she loved most.
The family would like to thank all the wonderful nurses, CNAs and Marilyn’s social worker from Lincoln County Hospice; the staff of Stress Free Home Care; and most of all, Tammy Parker, Marilyn’s main caregiver, who has become like a member of the family, for the care provided to Marilyn at the end of her life.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at Bethel UMC in Denver, N.C. Visitation is at 11 a.m. with the service following at 12 noon.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte/Lincoln County.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory, Mooresville, is serving the Smith family. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.