Thelma M. Smith, 91, of Stevensville, passed away on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at Caretel Inns of Lakeland. A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Burial will follow at Hickory Bluff Cemetery, Stevensville.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Fairplain Presbyterian Church Choir, the Church Food Bank or Caring Circle/Hospice. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com.
Thelma was born at home in Kewanna, Indiana, to Homer & Mary Ann (Wright) Wentzel. When Thelma was two years old her mother passed away. Her Aunt and Uncle Harold H and Hilma Hoff raised her with great love and support.
Thelma graduated from Riley High School in South Bend, Indiana. She continued her education by attending both Indiana University and Bethel College. While in college, Thelma was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority at Indiana University and was active in the South Bend Chapter. She was also active in the Alpha Beta Epsilon Sorority of Western Michigan University in St. Joseph. Thelma married the love of her life, Bill Payne Smith on August 28, 1949, at Ridgedale Presbyterian Church in South Bend. The two were happily married for nearly 68 years before he passed away in 2017. Bill and Thelma would spend many winters at their second residence in Estero, Florida and loved traveling with one another.
Thelma was a Para Professional at Lakeview Gard School and Blossomland Learning Center for eighteen years, where she played the piano and taught music to students with disabilities. She sang in her church choirs at Fairplain, Florida and South Bend for over 60 years. Thelma passed on her musical talent to her children along with her love of learning. She was a Den Mother for both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, and served the Fairplain Presbyterian Church, not only as a choir member but also as an Elder and a member of the Evangelism Committee. Thelma was also active in her Church Circles in both South Bend and Fairplain.
Thelma is survived by her three children, Marilee (Gary) Woodworth of Ann Arbor, David (Sandy) Smith of Baltimore, MD, and Wendy (Chris) Minor of Mattawan; five grandchildren, Peter (Cheryl) DeLuca, Rose (David) DeLuca Gollnitz, Ellen (William) Childress, Jacob Minor and Nicholas Minor; and five great-grandchildren, Nathan & Eli Deluca, Celia & Audrey Gollnitz, and Cedar Childress.
Thelma was preceded in death by her parents, Homer & Mary Ann; her Aunt Hilma & Uncle Harold Hoff; husband, Bill; and great-grandchild, Everett Gollnitz.