Florence Smith

October 25, 1928 - April 4, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, April 8, 2016
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions


Saturday, April 9, 2016
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Grand Valley Baptist Church
3186 River Hill Dr.
Gran Rapids, MI 409534


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Grand Valley Baptist Mission Fund
3186 River Hill Dr.
Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With her family by her side, Florence Smith was a woman devoted to her family in all she said and did, and there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for those she loved. Although she possessed a strong will and stood her ground when needed, Florence enjoyed a life surrounded by family, travel, and good friends. For these thigs and so much more, she will be fondly remembered.

Florence’s story began at a time when the era known as the Roaring Twenties created a spirit of unparalleled vitality in the U.S. The likes of Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford lit up the movie screens while everyone loved the sounds of Irving Berlin. As Mickey Mouse made his beloved debut to the delight of all, Gerber Baby Foods began their niche as a manufacturer of baby food products which made many mothers across America happy. This came at an especially good time in the lives of Frank and Mable (Parps) Carlson when on October 25, 1928 they welcomed a baby of their own with the birth of their little girl, Florence Ann.

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Florence was the first child in her family of five children. She was later joined by her younger siblings, Louis, Barb, Carol, and Mabel in the Tallmadge Township area on Leonard Street where the Carlson family made their home. Through the years Florence remained very close to her brother and sisters and they enjoyed getting together often. As a young girl, Florence suffered from epilepsy. It wasn’t until she was in her early forties that a regiment of the correct medication put her illness at bay, and she was never to experience another seizure again.

Florence and her family were faithful members of the Swedish Covenant Church in Grand Rapids. During her youth and as the oldest, she often looked after her siblings along with being a big help to her mother with household chores and on the farm. Florence’s father was a hardworking man who worked on their family farm. The Great Depression created great struggles for all, yet Florence’s family was thankfully sustained by their farm for which they were grateful. Due to hard economic times, vacations were non-existent for most, and the holidays were joyous occasions spent in the company of family. These special times continued even when her family moved to nearby Linden Road.

Having attended Cross Elementary School on Leonard Street and 24th Avenue, Florence went on to graduate from Coopersville High School in 1944 at the young age of 16. By the time she graduated, she had attained a typing speed of 55 words per minute. After high school Florence continued to help at home and work the farm. As a young girl she met a handsome boy who lived merely two miles from their home on Linden. Quite smitten with Charles Smith, the couple enjoyed a dating relationship for several years before Florence asked him if he was ever going to marry her! On Florence’s 24th birthday, October 25, 1952, they were happily married at Tallmadge Community Church. After a memorable honeymoon in Chicago, Illinois, they returned home to Michigan where they made their Linden Street farmhouse their forever home.

Although Charles also worked on his farm in his early years, he later sold it in the early 1960s when he began working in the construction trade for Owen, Ames & Kimble Construction Company. Florence was content remaining at home raising their two children, Mary and Tom. Having lost two other children at childbirth, Florence had a deep appreciation and love for her children. She was a very protective mother, and she always made herself readily available for Charles and the kids. Florence made a good home for them and as a wonderful cook, she truly enjoyed her time in the kitchen. She especially loved baking her delicious apple pies, her specialty of baked beans, and many meat and potato type of meals her husband was so fond of. Over the years Florence and her family enjoyed shared times on family vacations to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, including the Algoma train ride into Canada. Other memorable trips included Texas, New York, and out west to the Grand Canyon and California. An avid Detroit Tiger fan, she really loved their trip to Florida one year to see the Tiger’s spring training.

When it came to music, Florence preferred country, and she kept up on current events and sports by reading the newspaper. She also challenged herself with crossword puzzles and word search games. Several years ago the Goal Post Restaurant in Allendale became one of her favorite places to dine and she always looked forward to a Wendy’s frosty and a good hamburger. She also liked collecting salt and pepper shakers, and many baseball caps.

Ever loving to the family who brought her the greatest joy, Florence will be remembered for giving her all and then some to those she held close to her heart. Although deeply missed, the memories Florence leaves behind will be a constant reminder of her unending devotion.

Florence A. Smith age 87, of Grand Rapids passed away on Monday, April 4, 2016. Florence was preceded in death by her husband, Charles on May 16, 2005. She is survived by her children, Thomas Smith, Mary Smith; grandchildren, Jill (Pat) Kobza, Dan Smith, Kara Smith, Melissa Smith; great-grandchildren, Mason Kobza, Taylor Kobza; brother and sisters, Louis (Betty) Carlson, Barb (Jim) Fritz, Carol Damon, Mabel (Steve) Grifhorst; several nieces, nephews and friends. The service to remember the life of Florence will be held on Saturday, April 9, 11:00 AM at Grand Valley Baptist Church, 3186 River Hill Dr., Grand Rapids, MI 49534. Visitation with her family will be on Friday, April 8 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW from 6-8 PM. Contributions in memory of Florence to Grand Valley Baptist Mission Fund are appreciated. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to sign her online guest book and to share a favorite memory of her.