Margaret Matthews Smith, 87, formerly of Dermott passed away on November 2, 2015 at her daughter’s home in Monticello where she had made her home for the past 20 months and where her family was at her bedside.
The daughter of the late John Cochran Matthews and Estelle Mullins Matthews, she was born in Lake Village on May 14, 1928. She was a member of Dermott Baptist Church.
At age 11 her mother passed away after a yearlong illness. In 1946 she graduated from Hamburg High School. After graduation she moved to McGehee to live with her grandmother.
She was working at Beck’s Drug Store where she met her future husband of 61 years, Major Elmer Smith. He would come in every day to see her and get a sour lime. He took her home one night and they started dating. After dating for a year they married at the First Baptist Church parsonage. After the ceremony they took a train to Little Rock and caught a bus to Fayetteville where they made their first home while Major completed pre-med classes. From there they moved to Little Rock and Major completed Medical School at UAMS. Their first child Major Jr. was born in Little Rock in 1951. After graduation from Medical School in 1952 they made their home in Atlanta for a year of internship at Emory.
In 1953 they made their home in Dermott where they had two more children, Paula and Greg and where Major practiced medicine for 35 years. Margaret was a mother and housewife until the children were grown and then she helped out in the clinic.
Margaret loved to play bridge and have bridge parties. She loved to sew making many of hers and her daughter’s clothes. If she had trouble putting in a zipper, Major could do it for her. She has always been an avid reader and in recent years her favorite books were Anne Rule’s true crime novels. She was a Razorback fan and had season tickets to Little Rock games for many years.
Margaret and Major adored their two grandsons Matthew and Drew and took vacations with them and their parents every summer. They also took lots of trips with friends in Dermott and with Major’s brother Bob and sister-in-law Margaret, Major’s sister Betty Jo Chapman and their son Major, Jr. They went to New York, Hawaii, Mexico, Florida, Gatlinburg, Tennessee to name a few places. The past two years she vacationed at Orange Beach with Paula, Buddy, Drew and his girlfriend Emily.
In earlier years, they enjoyed square dancing and after retirement enjoyed dances at the American Legion with friends.
Other than her parents, Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Major E. Smith, two sons, Major E. Smith, Jr. and Gregory Steven Smith, one grandson, Matthew Chesser, an Uncle Paul Matthews and one brother John Paul Matthews.
Survivors include one daughter, Paula Chesser and husband Buddy of Monticello; one grandson, Drew Chesser of Sherwood; two great granddaughters, Kaitlyn Beth Chesser and Madelyn Claire Chesser of Maumelle.
Funeral service will be 2:00 PM Friday, November 6 at Dermott Baptist Church with burial in Dermott Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to service. Arrangements by Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home. Memorials to: American Diabetes Assn., American Heart Assn. or American Cancer Assn.