Being nice is underrated as a virtue. Yet, offering kindness to everyone often gives the comfort and strength that helps someone make it through the day.
Gloria Mills Smith was a humble paragon of this virtue.
Her last few years were filled with many physical discomforts and a variety of personal challenges. Even so, she was kind to everyone around her. Kind to her family and friends, of course, but also kind to her caregivers.
Even simple procedures like helping her bathe or change clothes could cause her pain. Nonetheless, she would smile. She would thank us.
At almost every visit, one or more of the caregivers at The Wellington would take time to tell me how nice she was, how sweet she was; what an angel she was; how much they loved her.
My reply was always: “Believe me, I know how lucky I am to have her for a mother.”
I like to think of this bit of saintly virtue as her legacy, being propagated through generations by people she touched with the subtle skill of her kindness.
On Thursday, September 1, 2022, Gloria Mills Smith passed away at age 97.
Gloria was born on January 9, 1925, in Dallas, Texas, the only child of Otho and Editha Mills. She and her first cousin, Billie Sue Martin, were raised almost as sisters. She was very thankful for her Uncle Bill’s and Aunt Chessie’s loving guardianship.
On December 16, 1947, she married Daniel Basel Smith, a Marine veteran of World War II and graduate of Southern Methodist University. They raised a daughter and two sons, and were blessed with two granddaughters and five great-grandchildren.
After settling in Richardson, Texas, they built a very warm home life together. She and Basel helped create Spring Valley Methodist Church as charter members in 1957. She spent a half century as a member of the Seekers adult Sunday School class along with many of her dearest friends.
Gloria cared deeply about the welfare of children, acting on that concern throughout her life through a variety volunteer roles. After retirement, she became a crossing guard, where she was adored by hosts of children and their parents.
Assuming she would live only a few more years, she moved into The Wellington on Arapaho in 2008. Instead, she found a new reason to live, assuring new residents as the welcoming face of the facility. She made many new friends and was loved by the staff.
Gloria was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by her son Scooter Smith and his wife, Amy Martin, her daughter Julie Wileman and her husband Andy Wileman, and her son Micah Smith and his partner Monica Lawler. She is also survived by granddaughter Katy Monwai and husband Brian Monwai and their three daughters, Ellie, Sachi and Addy, and granddaughter Emily Sandefur and husband Ryan Sandefur and their two children, Jakob and Leni.
Her funeral service will be held at 2 PM Friday, September 16, 2022, in the Wildwood Chapel at Restland Cemetery, 13005 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX, 75243. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the North Texas Food Bank.