Ethel Lee Alston Smith made her earthly transition to her eternal life on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at Hunter Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She was born to William Roger Alston and Ida Manley Alston on November 3, 1935, in the Ringwood Community of Halifax County, North Carolina.
Her formal education was received in the Halifax County Public School System, and she graduated from the former Eastman High School in Enfield, North Carolina, with the class of 1953. She then attended Pioneer Business School and Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduation, her first job was waiting for her, and she became employed by Scott Paper Company in Chester, Pennsylvania.
After relocating to Chicago, she met Jacob Bahron Smith and they were united in Holy Matrimony on July 2, 1962. They later moved to Los Angeles, California, where she became employed by the Los Angeles County Court System and remained until her retirement in 1987. She then returned to North Carolina, worked in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and also taught in the Halifax County School System for a period of time.
Ethel’s spiritual journey began years ago when she was baptized and became a member of the White Oak Missionary Baptist Church in Enfield, North Carolina, as a young girl. Her spiritual growth continued as she attended Sunday School, participated in the Young People’s Union of the Sunday School Convention, and played the piano for the church throughout her high school years. As a member of the household of faith, she joined the Santa Barbara Avenue Baptist Church in Los Angeles, continued her Christian education, and was ordained as a Minister in 1972. When she and her husband returned to North Carolina, the state where they both grew up, they settled in Enfield, North Carolina, and she was reunited with the White Oak Missionary Baptist Church. She enjoyed teaching Sunday School, being a member of the kitchen committee, participating in church activities, and the fellowship she shared with the church congregation.
Those remaining to forever share the treasures of her love and cherish the precious memory of her life are her four sisters, Dorothy Johnson of Enfield, NC, Cherrie Sherman of Trenton, NJ, Shirley Alston F. Hedgepeth of Enfield, NC, and H. Venetta Alston of Portland, OR; two brothers, Roger A. Alston and his wife, Delilah of Westminster, MD, and Theophilus Alston and his wife, Judy Garlinda of Edison, NJ; her extended family of aunts, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and cousins from both the Manley-Alston and the Smith families, friends from White Oak, and communities throughout Halifax County and beyond.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at White Oak Missionary Baptist Church, 1612 White Oak Road, Enfield, NC. Associate Minister, Rev. Albert Thorpe, will officiate, and burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends on Friday, February 26, 2016, at the funeral home from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.