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2161 Leonard St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
Loving, caring, and gentle, Norris Rebecca “Becky” Smith was a blessing to everyone she met. She was never one to be concerned about the things of this world, rather, her focus was on making the most of the days she was given while holding her loved ones near. Becky treasured her roles as a wife and mother, but she just may have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother to the grandchildren she adored. Life was not without times of trial for her, but she faced whatever came her way with a graceful courage and a quiet strength that were truly inspiring to all who were near. Although she will be deeply missed, Becky leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of her friends and loved ones.
Nearly a century has passed since our nation was recognized as a world leader for the first time when America and our allies were victorious with the end of WWI. With our new status, we were poised for greatness. With the eyes of the world focused on our shores for what was to come, we did not disappoint as radios, refrigerators, and affordable cars that were mass produced on assembly lines were signs of the time. It was in 1919 that Walter J. and Dony B. (Bryson) Parminter were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Norris Rebecca on August 13th. She was the eighth of 11 children in her family and was raised in the family home in Halls, Tennessee, alongside her older siblings, L.C., Lester, Homer, V. Lorene, Mildred, Callie, and W.J. and her younger siblings, Gladys, John, and James “Bo.” Her father was a cotton farmer and insurance salesman while her mother was a homemaker. Her family were sharecroppers, living on a cotton farm.
In many ways, Becky was a young girl of her generation. She attended Halls Elementary and went on to Halls High School where she played on the girls basketball team. An amazing student, Becky graduated as her class valedictorian in 1937. Becky and her family were members of Halls Baptist Church.
After high school, Becky needed to leave the farm and moved to Muskegon, Michigan, where she lived with her brother. While there, she attended Muskegon Junior College and later, University of Michigan where she earned her teaching certificate.
Not to be forgotten during her years in high school was Becky’s introduction to the young man of her dreams. His name was Herman Robinson, and they were introduced by her brother. They began dating, and two years later they were married on November 9, 1938, at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. The newlyweds then took a fishing honeymoon, staying at a cottage on a bayou of the Grand River. Becky and Herm then settled in a home on Prairie Street in Grandville, Michigan. Together they were blessed with the births of three children, John in 1940, Ardeth “Lynne” in 1942, and James in 1944. Becky’s family appreciated her cooking skills, and among their favorites were her beef stroganoff, chop suey, corn bread, banana cream, pecan, and chocolate pies as well as her spaghetti and lasagna. Becky loved eating Southern foods like black eyed peas, collard greens, mustard greens, ham steak, and fried green tomatoes. Although her marriage to Herm ended in divorce after 11 years, she was forever grateful for the children they shared.
About one year later, Becky was introduced to Lewis “Pug” Smith, and they were married two years later, on June 24, 1950, at Burton Methodist Church. They lived on Francis Street in Wyoming and were members of Burton Methodist Church. Many memories were made at the cottage on Whalen Lake in Lake County, Michigan, and later in life they often traveled to Largo, Florida, where they had a condo for years. They also visited family back in Tennessee, Oaklahoma and went to Arizona and took several cruises. Becky always loved rock ’n roll and country music, and she was also a die hard Detroit Tiger Fan who never missed a game. She also golfed and bowled. She was an amazing seamstress who made numerous prom dresses, cheerleader outfits, and quilts as well. Becky joined the Amvets Post #23 Ladies Auxiliary where she was very active and became state officer.
Later in life, Becky continued to embrace both the peaks and valleys along her journey. She was thrilled to become a grandmother and great-grandmother, and she loved spoiling these younger generations whenever she could. In July of 2005, Becky was deeply saddened with the death of her beloved husband. Soon after, she went to live with her daughter, Lynne. Becky spent three years there and took advantage of all the activities retirement had to offer like Bingo, various seniors groups, Four Score and More, and the Red Hatters. After three years, she returned to Michigan, moving to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes where she made numerous friends.Her special friend, Connie Hess preceded her in death, August 29, 2015 - They were always walking the halls "side by side". Although Becky’s health began to decline, she remained sharp and active playing cards frequently with "The Saturday Night Livelies" and others. She also did various word search games, and also completing brain teasers. During the past month, she was placed under hospice care after a steep decline in her health.
With unending love for her family and friends, Norris R. “Becky” Smith lived life to the fullest each day. She was wise and faith-filled with an unending spirit of compassion. Becky’s kindness extended to everyone she met, and although she could be feisty at times, she was a woman with a heart of gold. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
Norris R. “Becky” Smith, aged 96 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Friday, September 18, 2015, at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lewis E. “Pug” Smith. She is survived by her children, John and Jackie Robinson, Jim and Pam Robinson, Lynne and Bob Csaszar; her 9 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and one great great grandson; her former daughter-in-law, Sherry Buist; her longtime caregiver, Sandy Sibils; many nieces, nephews and friends. Becky was a loving and kind wife, mother, grandmother and a friend to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered. She was a member of Amvets Ladies Auxiliary Post #23 and was former State Officer, and volunteered at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. A service to celebrate Becky’s life will be held on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes Chapel, 2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Entombment in Chapel Hill Cemetery. Contributions in her memory may be made to Emmanuel Hospice. To read more about Becky’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com