On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Ms. Elizabeth Cook Smith (“Ms. Libba”), loving mother of four children and loving grandmother of 25 grand/great grandchildren, passed away at the age of 90. Ms. Libba was born on November 17, 1928 in Rome, Georgia to Harry Edgar Sr. and Wilma Gaston Cook. She was raised in her parents’ loving home in Parrott, Georgia where strong values of faith, love of family, kindness, diligence, thankfulness, and respect were learned. Her mother taught her the love of the arts in poetry, expression, theater, and music as her mother was an instructor of both expression and piano.
Ms. Libba graduated as Valedictorian, Class of 1945 from Parrott High School. She then attended Wesleyan Conservatory in 1945-48 majoring in Radio. She wrote scripts for Wesleyan Radio Workshop, had lead roles in productions, a member of the Watchtower Staff as a newspaper columnist, the Literary Editor of the yearbook, and was elected ”Miss Junior Class” in 1948. Although her academic career was precluded by marriage to Mr. Horace Zack Smith Jr. in 1948, she went back to school at Georgia Southern College at the age of 60 where she graduated in 1989 as an Honor Graduate with a degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Public Relations. She wrote the column “The Older Coed” for “The Eagle”, was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, and was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She interned at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce where later she would serve on the staff for 19 years. She was the Membership Director, which was so fitting as she loved making new relationships and her love for others made her job a natural! Each new member/business was given a “ribbon cutting” and she purposed to make it a festive event for all!
After moving to Statesboro with her husband, Horace Zack Smith Jr., Ms. Libba lived in Statesboro for over 67 years. She was an active member of First Baptist Church as a Preschool Sunday School teacher focusing on 3 year olds for 30 years, a Sunbeam leader, a GA Leader, Chairman of the Drama Committee, Member of WMU, Senior Adult Choir and a member of the Alathean Sunday School Class. She used her talent of writing to create an historical play depicting the history of the church that was performed on its 90th and 100th anniversary.
Ms. Libba served the community in many capacities. She was a member and past Regent of the Archibald Bulloch Chapter, NSDAR. She also served as Publicity Chairman and was elected Georgia Regent of the Year in 1984. She also received the State approved Community Service Award in 2015. She became an associate member of the Fielding Lewis Chapter NSDAR in Marietta, GA after moving there in 2016. Ms. Libba was a member of Spade and Trowel Garden Club serving as President and many other positions, and served as the Oleander District Garden Club Energy Awareness Chair in 1986-89. She served as Co-Chair of the Statesboro Bicentennial Committee, co-authored two plays with songs and vignettes called “A History of Statesboro” and “Wiregrass: A Bulloch County Bicentennial Play”. She served on the City Planning Commission, and was featured in the Statesboro Magazine twice. Ms. Libba was a Brownie Scout leader and a Cub Scout Den Mother.
Ms. Libba was a recipient of the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 1990, Outstanding Community Leadership Award, and also has a Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Award named for her. She was a guiding force in the Statesboro Friends of the Library and the Bulloch County Historical Society. She supported and volunteered for Georgia Southern University’s Garden of the Coast Plain, the Performing Arts Center, the Music Department, and all things “Southern”. She also was a Booster Club member supporting The Georgia Southern Eagles.
Ms. Libba’s passion for the arts was strengthened when she was appointed by the local Mayor and City Council to help establish an Arts Council and develop what is now known as the Averitt Center for the Arts. She was one of the founding members of the community theater – the Averitt STARS. During her involvement she worked behind the scenes, on stage, and with wonderful productions over 12 years. She served as Secretary on both the committee and council. She was also a cast member in ”A Place to Call Home” and “The Erk Russell Story” performed at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
Ms. Libba’s true passion was using her gift of proficiency in the literary arts of poetry with the Statesboro community, family, and friends For decades she has written hundreds of delightful poems for every conceivable event: special events in the community, birthdays, nursing homes, churches, schools, and ribbon cuttings. Every child/spouse/brother/in-laws and grandchild of her family received a personalized poem up to the last month of her life. A poem written by her for every family event and gathering was expected by all, and she never failed to write one.
Ms. Libba was one of Statesboro’s communities “Steel Magnolias” and she loved her family, friends, and The Boro. She is known for her kindness, sweetness, and goodness. Her influence on people has been everlasting. Her presence had the ability to brighten your day and make you feel as if all is right within the community… a true “treasure”. She moved to Marietta, GA to live with her daughter Sally and husband Dennis. She was very happy being surrounded by family, meeting new friends, and experiencing many new adventures.
Ms. Elizabeth C Smith was preceded in death by her father, Harry E. Cook, Sr, her mother, Wilma Gaston Cook., and former husband Horace Zack Smith Jr. She is survived by her four children, Zack Smith (Statesboro), Sally S Chao(Dennis) –Marietta, GA, Suzi McKee (Jerry)-Amarillo, TX, Amy Beaucham (Ron)-Peachtree City, GA ; Grandchildren: Beth Smith, Melissa Herndon (Greg), Rustin Chao (Kelsey),Ryan Chao(Lisa), Matthew Smith, Ashley Fine(Brad), Raegan Smith, Charlie Beaucham (Sarah), Joe Schumacher, Libba Beaucham (Matt), Matti Gresham (Clint); Great grandchildren: Nathan Andrews, Clay Smith, Evan Herndon, Christian Chao, Lia Chao, Chase Herndon, Lucca Chao, Lizzie Beachum, Connor Fine, Jackson Chao, Drew Fine, Evelyn Fine, George Beaucham, Zoe Gresham; Brother Harry E. Cook Jr (Valle); Brother-in-law W. R. “Bobby” Smith(Jenny), Sister-in-law Betty Smith Jennings with nephews Adam Cook (Sarah),Bob Smith (Lisa), Edwin Smith (Leslie), Horace Jennings,(Ann), the late Bob Jennings, and nieces Maegan Cook, Marian S NeSmith (Al), and Harriet Shirley (Todd) along with many, many cousins.
Funeral services will be held Sunday, March 17, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at Statesboro First Baptist Church with Rev. Ricky Allen and Dr. H. William Perry officiating.
Burial will follow in Eastside Cemetery.
Visitation will be Saturday, March 16, 2019, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. at Hodges-Moore Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be made to First Baptist Church/Children’s Ministry, 108 North Main Street, Statesboro, GA 30458 and/or to the Averitt Center for the Arts, 33 East Main Street, Statesboro, GA 30458
Hodges-Moore Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.