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Columbia Missourian

Lillie 'Bea' Smith loved gardening, getting things done

By Bailey Otto
March 11, 2013 | 9:23 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Lillie Beatrice "Bea" Smith took care of her own. 

"She made everything seem really important and special," granddaughter Christine Crouch said. "She took time to make everybody feel like they were really welcome."

Mrs. Smith was always there to talk, with fresh chocolate chip cookies and iced tea at the ready for those who stopped by.

Mrs. Smith of Columbia died Sunday, March 10, 2013. She was 91. 

She was born on July 1, 1921, to James Dorsey and Lillie Dea Grant. She married Glenn Thomas Smith on July 18, 1940.

Mrs. Smith and her husband were both natives of Boone County and harvested grain crops and raised livestock for a living. Most of their farm land was in the Missouri River bottoms around the McBaine area. Now, 2,400 acres of their land is part of the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

Mrs. Smith also had three large gardens, where she grew many types of vegetables and fruits, such cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries.

If she was going to cook a meal, it was going to be the best, Crouch said. Her favorite was her grandmother's fried chicken with mashed potatoes. 

"Everything was right out of the garden and fresh, and I don't know how she did it," Crouch said. "I don't know. I've tried."

Crouch said she learned most of her domestic skills from her grandmother.

Mrs. Smith was competitive and a perfectionist in all she did, be it cooking, gardening or sewing.

Mrs. Smith also loved nurturing flowers. Crouch said she grew irises and gladiolas, and she always had roses around her front door.

She loved using her riding lawnmower, Crouch said. "She wanted everything to look nice," she said.

Crouch remembers tagging along with Mrs. Smith to the Boone County Fair where her grandmother competed with garden displays. Crouch would watch her put the arrangements together, just so and top-notch, with flowers from her own garden.

As a young girl in the 1930s, Mrs. Smith raised championship Angus cattle and won statewide awards.

She enjoyed meeting the recipients of an agricultural scholarship that she endowed in honor of her husband, Glenn, through MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Mrs. Smith was a member of the Fairview United Methodist Church.

She was an active 4-H member and later became a community project leader. Mrs. Smith was involved in the Ophelia Shephard and Strawn-O-Lite Extension Clubs, along with the Eagle lodge, Elks Lodge and the Monticello and Jefferson Clubs at MU.

Mrs. Smith and her husband were dedicated Missouri Tiger fans, often holding football tickets for the 50 yard line. 

Mrs. Smith is survived by a brother, Robert Eugene Grant and his wife, Idamarie;  two daughters, Betty Gayle Smith and Joyce Ann Ardrey, both of Columbia; two granddaughters, Christine Crouch and husband, Jon, of Liberty, and Deidre Henry and husband, Matthew, of Columbia; and three great-grandchildren, Meredith, Katie and Jett Crouch.

Her husband, Glenn Thomas Smith; three brothers, Cecil, David and Elijah Grant; and two sisters, Mary Nall and Hazel Grant died earlier. 

Visitation will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home. 

Memorials can be made to the Butterfield Youth Services, P. O. Box 333, 1126 East Highway WW, Marshall, MO 65340, or Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home, 9501 W. Coyote Hill Road, Harrisburg, MO 65256, or a charity of the donor's choice. 

Tributes can be posted at