Joanne Smith

Joanne S. Smith

July 3, 1927 - April 23, 2020
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On Thursday morning, April 23, 2020, Joanne Smith drew her last breath exactly as she planned. She was 92. What was not planned was the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented her from being surrounded by her family. But she enjoyed the many family and friends that spoke to her by phone the day before as she lay comfortably at home holding her oldest son’s hand.
Joanne was born on July 3, 1927 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Jesse Guy Smith and (Ms.) Joe (Howell) Smith. She graduated from Pine Bluff High, attended Mary Baldwin, and graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) with dual majors in Business and Music. She was a member of Chi Omega. She married Jack Perdue Smith on June 19, 1948. They raised three children, Jeff (Pam) Smith of Fort Davis, TX, Jana (Chris) Rentzel of Dallas, TX, and Ed (Melinda) Smith of Conway, AR.
She loved music and learned to play the piano early in life. She played the timpani drums in the Zebra band and learned to play the organ while at the University. She served as organist for the First Presbyterian Church of Pine Bluff for many years. Seeking a greater challenge, she taught herself to play the harp which she played during the Grand Opening of the Pine Bluff Civic Center accompanying the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in 1968.
Joanne started First Capital Property Management in 1978, managing apartment complexes for investors throughout and beyond Arkansas. She was one of the first women in the US to achieve the Certified Commercial Investment Manager (CCIM) designation, and one of the two first female Board members of Simmons First National Bank. She was an elder at First Presbyterian Church, chair of the Southeast Arkansas Arts & Science Center, director of the Greater Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Pine Bluff Junior League.
At the age of 90 she moved to Dallas, where she continued living life to the fullest, playing bridge, mahjongg and piano; shopping and dining; and attending symphonies and operas.
Joanne was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her second husband, E. Harley Cox, and her sister, Shirley Jones Lynch. In addition to her children, she is survived by two grandchildren, Lauren (John) Lawson of Pine Bluff and Alex (Rachel) Smith of Little Rock, two step-grandchildren, Harrison Hatfield of Denver and Caroline Hatfield of Detroit, and three great granddaughters, Hallie Lawson, Ella Lawson and Annie Smith.
As all who knew her would expect, she was elegant and full of grace to the end. We are reassured in knowing that the inspiration and influence she had on so many will continue to ripple among us for a long, long time.
Due to the pandemic, the family will have a private graveside service 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 25, 2020 where she will be buried next to her husband, Jack.
Family and friends can watch the service and leave typed or video condolences at The service will also be on the Ralph Robinson and Son Facebook page.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 717 West 32nd Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71603.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, April 25, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Saturday, April 25, 2020 2:00pm
    Graceland Cemetery
    2493 West Pullen Street
    Pine Bluff, AR 71601
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Phil Wheat & Lori Givens and Sandy and Tracy Hart, Colton Horn, and Kason and A sent flowers to the family of Joanne S. Smith.
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Claire and Clyde Campbell

Posted at 10:41am
Our deepest condolences to all the family. Claire and Clyde Campbell

Jana Rentzel Posted at 10:51am

Dear Claire and Clyde - thank you so much.

B Reed

Posted at 12:29pm
Thinking about your familiy Jeff, Jan, & Ed. B Reed

Jana Rentzel Posted at 10:50am

Thank you so much for thinking of us.

Debbie Thicksten

Posted at 05:12pm
Mark and I send our love and sympathy to your family

Jana Rentzel Posted at 10:49am

Dear Debbie and Mark - thank you so much for thinking of us at this time.

Phil Wheat & Lori Givens

Posted at 04:38pm
She was and is such a wonderful lady. She makes Heaven even better! This comes with the love and prayers of Lori Givens, Phil Wheat and our families.
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Phil Wheat & Lori Givens purchased the Peaceful White Lilies Basket and planted a memorial tree for the family of Joanne Smith. Send Flowers


Sandy and Tracy Hart, Colton Horn, and Kason and A

Posted at 01:30pm
Joanne was a beautiful lady with a radiant spirit. What a wonderful legacy she created in all of you. Our love and prayers are with you.
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Sandy and Tracy Hart, Colton Horn, and Kason and A purchased the Your Light Shines for the family of Joanne Smith. Send Flowers


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