Jane Smarr loved traveling the country, caring for her home

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 | 6:34 p.m. CDT; updated 6:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 23, 2012

COLUMBIA — Jane Smarr loved traveling. In her lifetime, she was able to visit Washington, D.C., New York City and Mexico, to name just a few of her adventures.

Jane Elizabeth Smarr of Columbia died Monday, May 21, 2012. She was 89.

She was born May 15, 1923, at her family's farm near Meridian, Miss., to Roy Ellis Crampton and Jane Elizabeth (Kennedy) Crampton.

At the age of 17, she won the National Contest in Home Economics, sponsored by Servel. Her victory earned her a trip to Washington, D.C.

At the time, she was employed at the Peoples Water and Gas Company of Meridian Because of an award she received from that company, she was also able to spend several days in New York City. While she was there, she visited the world's fair.

"She's real modest, but when I asked her about (the world's fair) she'd light up with a big smile," Charles Smarr, one of her sons, said.

Mrs. Smarr graduated from Meridian High School in 1941.

She met her future husband, Robert Smarr, when he was stationed in Meridian at Key Field while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. They married June 6, 1943, and had been married for 65 years when he died in 2008.

Mrs. Smarr and her husband moved to Columbia after World War II. They took over his parents' business, R.L. Smarr Florist, which they ran from 1946 until retiring in 1979.

Mrs. Smarr and her husband enjoyed traveling around the country and taking road trips, usually in the summer, to visit family in Mississippi. Charles Smarr said traveling back then was a lot different. 

"You were driving on two-lane highways, and stop in every town at traffic lights. You saw a lot more," he said. Often, the family would also visit surrounding cities, stopping in New Orleans or Pensacola, Fla.

After Mrs. Smarr and her husband retired, they joined her sister Henrietta Jones and her husband and traveled across the country by RV. They traveled from Canada to Mexico and loved touring national parks such as Yellowstone. 

"We had a real good time," Jones said.

Once, the two couples traveled to Washington to visit a relative and decided to see Canada while they were close. 

"We went to the edge of Canada, just to see what it was like," Jones said.

Mrs. Smarr was Jones' older sister by four years. Jones said they got along very well in a family of seven siblings.

"She was a fine person, and she was pretty," Jones said. "I always looked up to her. When you're younger and you have older sisters, it makes a difference."

At home, Mrs. Smarr helped her husband with the flower shop, both at the store and at home. The family's three-acre property housed a large greenhouse, and Mrs. Smarr cared for all the plants. She also took care of household duties and raised three boys.

"She had the old-fashioned thought of raising them right," Jones said.

Both Jones and Charles Smarr praised Mrs. Smarr's cooking, along with her dedication to her household.

Charles Smarr described his mother as down-to-earth, kind and humble, with an infectious personality that really shined in social situations.

"She was the belle of the ball," he said. 

Mrs. Smarr is survived by three sons, Larry Smarr and wife Janet of La Jolla, Calif., David Smarr and wife Karen, and Charles Smarr and wife Teresa, all of Columbia; one sister, Henrietta Jones, of Meridian, Miss.; five grandchildren, Joseph Smarr, Benjamin Smarr, Melissa Smarr Jacobs, Stephanie Smarr and Brian Smarr; three great-grandchildren, Henry Jacobs, Graham Jacobs and Elisabeth Smarr; one niece, Mary Bancroft, and one nephew, Michael Bancroft, both of Columbia.

Her husband, Robert Smarr; four brothers, John Crampton, Roy Crampton, Edward Crampton and Francis Crampton; and one sister, Mary Smith, died earlier.

A private family service will be held Thursday at Columbia Cemetery, 30 E. Broadway.

Condolences can be posted at

Supervising editor is Celia Darrough.

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