Cover photo for Viola Ruth Smith's Obituary
Viola Ruth Smith Profile Photo
1922 Viola 2008

Viola Ruth Smith

June 14, 1922 — November 30, 2008

Viola Ruth Smith, age 86, of Grants Pass, died Sunday, November 30, 2008, at Highland House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, December 13, at Hull and Hull Funeral Directors, 612 NW A Street, Grants Pass. Private family inurnment will be at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

Memorial donations may be made to Lovejoy Hospice, 939 SE 8th Street, Grants Pass, Oregon 97526 or the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, North Carolina 28201.

She was born Viola Ruth Larson on June 14, 1922, in Lucas, Wisconsin, the youngest of seven children born to John and Sarah Larson. At age 16, she married John Randall Lee and they had four children, one of whom survives. In 1942, the family moved to Buena Park, California, by riding troop trains west. After the marriage ended, she worked at Goddings variety store to support herself and her four children. She later married James William Smith in 1952 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and another daughter was born later that year. They moved to Anaheim, California, in 1956, where she worked at the LaPalma Chicken Pie Shop and later as a central service technician at Anaheim Memorial Hospital.

In 1973, she and her husband retired to Selma, Oregon, to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and develop property they had recently purchased. They were active members of Selma Baptist Church. After his death, she moved to Grants Pass to be closer to family.

Viola was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and loved her family above all else. She was an avid reader who enjoyed learning. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a remarkable ability to focus on the positive aspects of life. As her family has discovered, she seems to have kept every Christmas or birthday card, school picture, report card, photograph, and letter she ever received, including one mailed by a granddaughter in 1965 with an S & H green stamp, that arrived with postage due.

Survivors include a son, Jerry Lee of Grants Pass; a daughter, Susan Smith of Wolf Creek; and a granddaughter, Laura Bennett, of Grants Pass; a sister, Melvina Semple of Eau Galle, Wisconsin; 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her husband, James William Smith; a daughter, Kay Pennington; and two sons, Roger Lee and Arlen Lee.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Viola Ruth Smith, please visit our flower store.


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