Wanza L. Smith

October 26, 1921 ‒ July 04, 2019

Mount Vernon, Ohio
Formerly of Fredericktown, Ohio

Wanza L. Smith, age 97, died at home on July 4, 2019. Her daughter Deborah Scott provided extraordinary care and love which enabled her to remain at home.

She was born at home in Knox County on October 26, 1921, to the late Edward and Grace (Ruhl) Burson. Her early education began at Cooke School—a one room schoolhouse in Middlebury Township.  She was a 1939 graduate of Fredericktown High School.

Wanza married Paul H. Smith on February 14, 1942 in Marion, Ohio. They farmed in Knox County until he began studies to become a minister.  They served churches in Ohio & Kentucky before they moved to the Cayman Islands as missionaries in the mid-1950s.  They served 15 years on Grand Cayman Island before returning to Ohio permanently in 1973.

She taught in Sunday Schools and trained youth at Christian Service camps in Ohio and Jamaica. Wanza shared her homemaking expertise and knowledge of raising children with many young families wherever she lived. Dozens of children called her Grandma Wanza.  In their later years Paul and Wanza made several mission trips to Equador, Peru and Bolivia.  They enjoyed more travel in the United States, Israel, and the Caribbean.

After Paul’s death in 1996, she became a devoted hospice volunteer, comforting families as she had been comforted. When she moved to Mount Vernon she became a faithful member of Messiah Church.

She was witty, clever, a fierce Scrabble player, a punster, skilled homemaker, lover of people and lover of God. Her handwritten letters to friends and family are memorable treasures. This farm girl turned world traveler impacted thousands of lives in her ninety-seven years on earth; she leaves a remarkable legacy of faithfulness.

She was preceded in death by her brothers Paul, Vaughn, Frank and Neil Burson and sister, Lois Welch; sons-in-law, John Scott and Joe Blevins. Her great-great granddaughter, Presley Jones, died in infancy.

Her six children continue her legacy: Judy Hinten of Westerville; Ronald Smith of Milton, Florida; Rachel Blevins of Fredericktown; Rebecca (Bill) Christman of Bonners Ferry, Idaho; Deborah Scott of Mount Vernon and Lisa (Richard) Hall of Milton, Florida.

Twelve grandchildren, twenty-six great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren cherish the memories of their godly, fun-loving grandmother.

She is also survived by her sister, Marjorie Frey of Wenatchee, Washington; sister-in-law, Beverly Burson of Brandon, Florida and many nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at the New Life Community Church, 9955 Mount Gilead Rd., Fredericktown where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 with Pastors Desmond Cole and Bill Christman officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Casa Shalom Ministries, P.O. Box 810, Warrenton, VA 20188.

To share a memory or send the family an expression of sympathy visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

The Snyder Funeral Home in Fredericktown is honored to serve the family of Wanza L. Smith.

  • Sorry she is not with us any longer, but know she was ready to see her Lord and Savior and the heavenly place promised for Christians. Always loved her and Paul and the wonderful mentors they were when Carmon and I attended church camp at Butler for many years. Beautiful inside and out. Much love and many hugs

  • My condolences to the family..I had the pleasure of meeting her..she is and was one beautiful woman mother GRANDMAS and great grandma ..resting in Gods arms..love 💜 the all she is your angel now

  • What fond memories we have of Wanza. Almost always smiling and always encouraging. You, her family, were blessed to have her for so many years.
    With love,

  • Dear Lisa and family,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom. What a beautiful smile, and exactly like yours! You all are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Andi Foreman

  • My adopted Spiritual Mother and Grandma Wanza to my kids. We loved you so deeply for your integrity, wisdom and infectious ( honking) laughter. So sorry for the families loss… so happy she is HOME. A life very well lived.

  • Rachel and family, you have our deepest condolences,what a pleasure it was to talk to Wanza when we would visit mom at the living center. what a legacy she has left behind, It was a blessing to know her. We are praying for your family. Stephen and Linda Pruett

  • II Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Wanza finished the race always faithful to her Lord. I pray God would encourage the family that misses her so much with the knowledge that Wanza kept the faith, finished the race and was received into heaven with glorious fanfare as she finally saw Him face to face.

  • Sorry for the loss of your mother an grandmother. I remember Wanza from Wakatomika Christian Service Camp from 1960-1955. Fond memories of those days. I still practice what she taught. Wonderful Christian teacher.
    Judy, I remember you too. God bless your family.

  • Rachel and family,

    Deepest sympathies to you on the loss of your mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother–what a legacy she left! Wanza was a real character with a ready smile, encouraging word and a great sense of humor till the end–we grieve with you.

  • The life of this wonderful woman of God will always be a treasured memory in my heart. Although her life was long and fulfilling, I wish she could have stayed with us longer. I’m glad that she’s being be reunited with Paul, and also my parents, Enrique and Esperanza, as they loved her so!
    We are so very sorry for your loss and pray for a profound peace in your hearts. Love you very much. Pochy (Tania)

  • Paul and Wanza, such wonderful people, and faithful servents to God. Wanza was such a sweet soul, sharing her love where ever she went, and teaching others not only through words but through actions. I remember all the beautiful times when both of them visited our home and our church in Ecuador. Even though nobody at home spoke English, we were always able to understand each other, laugh and learn with them. There was always a special connection between our family and The Smith’s. Wanza is going to be greatly missed, but we are happy knowing that she finally is going to be with Paul . The Bastidas Family send their love and condolences for your loss. We will be praying for the whole family. Love, Gaby

  • Dear Smith Family, we were so sorry to hear of Wanza’s passing. What a great loss you are all facing. We, too, pray for HIS peace & comfort to surround all of you. So thankful that we have so many wonderfully funny, super helpful, and plain delightful memories of Wanza(and Paul) to think on, to remember. We don’t know all of their kids, but the ones we do definitely remind us in one way or another, of all the great attributes of their parents. It’s true you were definitely blessed to have such loving parents, but it is also true that our lives have been enriched(blessed) by knowing them and their children! Wish we could be with you at this time, for that is where our hearts are. Love to you all! The Biff & Vicki Bowman Family: Thor, Lydia, Benaiah , Grace & Nathanael

  • I had the most wonderful pleasure meeting and getting to know Wanza and her beautiful family during the time she spent residing at The Living Center. Her amazing and trusting Faith in God touched us all. I will remember her beautiful smile and the glow around her. There was no doubt–We were truly blessed by her presence. My sincere sympathy to her family. May memories of their loved one help sustain them during this sad, but also joyous time, knowing Wanza is resting gently in the arms of Jesus.