Official Obituary of

Lizzie M. Smith

December 6, 1929 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old

Lizzie Smith Obituary

Lizzie Mae Weaver was born into the world of segregated Marks,
Mississippi, to Dave Edward and Welcie (“Alcie”) Weaver (Martin) on
December 6, 1929. Like many African Americans living in the South,
there are no accurate records of her birth. And so the exact time and
location of her birth are unknown. It is believed that a midwife was
involved and that her birth took place at her parents’ home. For most
of her life, Lizzie believed that her birth year was between 1930 and
1932. However, thanks to “Marva Collins’ internet,” it was discovered
that her little six-month-old self was listed on the April of 1930 Census
record, legitimizing her birth in 1929. Life in rural Mississippi was
fraught with many hardships for African Americans, but despite the
adversity, Lizzie and her ten siblings, Charles, Hattie Mae, Lillie Mae
(Sugar), Ethel Lee, Inez, Christine, Dennis Charles (D.C.), Geraldine
(Geri), Bertha, and Shirley were raised by their devoted mother. Lizzie
placed a respectable third in the sibling pecking order. With Alcie’s
guidance, Lizzie knew God at an early age. Because of this, she never
strayed far from His Word, nor He from her heart. She strived to always
be kind, obedient, and soft-spoken despite several belt whippings that
often said otherwise to her children.
Lizzie was a passionate learner and remained curious throughout her
life. She attended grammar school in a single-room schoolhouse with
one teacher, Ms. Maybell, in Marks, Mississippi. Lizzie went on to attend
Marks Industrial High School. Upon graduation in 1952, she attended
Coahoma Junior College in Clarksdale, Mississippi. It is believed that
Lizzie got two semesters of higher education under her belt.
One day, Lizzie received a call or carrier pigeon or telegram or
something from her older brother, Charles. He asked her to journey
north to the big city of Chicago for a summer to babysit his children.
He also offered to pay for her services. Of course, young Lizzie saw this
as an opportunity to escape the dangers of living in the South while
Black, save a little money, and perhaps finish her college education.
She eagerly accepted his offer. Lizzie’s sister, Ethel, who had already
moved to Chicago in 1953, was married with a family of her own. So,
together with two of her siblings in a highfalutin city like Chicago, what
could go wrong?
Love. Love is what went wrong—or more accurately, love is what went
right, straight to Lizzie’s head and heart. According to the romance
story that was told, it was in the Windy City (thanks to her matchmaking
sister, Ethel) where Lizzie met and fell in love with a debonair, Navy
veteran named Joe Martin Smith. It could have been during one of
many city days or evenings, hanging out together (perhaps at Roberts
Show Lounge on the south side, or Copa Cabana Club on the west
side). Joe was an acquaintance of Ethel and her husband Joe Lee. It
was only a matter of time before the magic began.
Eventually all that quality “hang time” paid off and culminated in the
wonderful holy matrimony of Lizzie Mae (27) to Joe Martin (37) on
August 18, 1960. Their union led to the birth of several mini-Smiths,
Joseph Dale (February 1961), Kenery Kent (May 1964), and Bryant “No Middle Name Required” (February 1972). And as her family grew
and flourished, Lizzie grew and flourished in the role of devoted and
faithful wife, loving and guiding mother, and default family liaison. She
always made herself available to help facilitate connections between
her siblings and their families. Lizzie kept her circle of friends small, and
she was far from a social butterfly. For her, family was everything and
Lizzie loved life! Despite her few wants and desires, she always found
ways to stay busy with a life outside of her family. Just a few of her
endeavors included volunteering in the lunchroom at her children’s grade
schools, being part of a parents’ circle at the neighborhood child-parent
center, continuing her education in shorthand, computer programming
(with the cards like in the movie Hidden Figures), and typing at both
Jones Commercial High School and Dawson Technical Institute. Lizzie
always strived to challenge herself and pursue personal interests. She
took driving lessons in her early mid-life to facilitate a desire to become
an even stronger and more independent Black woman than she already
was—and to help her husband pay bills and buy groceries for three
growing boys, of course.
Lizzie taught herself to play piano at home by reading sheet music. With
all her Lizzie-ness, she later demanded that her husband buy a piano
and have it delivered to the Robert Taylor housing projects... to their
twelfth-floor apartment! Luckily, the good elevator worked that day. She
also taught her children about entrepreneurship by example. Lizzie made
and sold original arts and crafts, bought candy and treats wholesale and
sold them out of her apartment to neighbors, and taught other children
along the way how to become little self-sufficient salespersons. Lizzie
acquired her CDL license at the tender age of 50 to obtain her goal of
becoming a school bus driver. This she did for the remainder of her work
life, because she truly loved to help and teach children.
Lizzie was, simply put, a classic, understated, strong, Black woman of
God. And despite all her endeavors, Lizzie always found time for her
husband and children. She never denied them any of her time, energy,
or her love. She imparted a wonderful legacy of strength, resilience,
creativity, fearlessness, and a robust desire to always seek and love God
and to serve others with kindness. Even when life challenged her with
tragedies (the loss of her firstborn child, Joseph, to gun violence, and
the love of her life, Joe, to cancer), Lizzie held steadfast to her family
and remained faithful to God.
Preceding Lizzie Mae in glory were her loving and slightly grumpy
husband, Joe Martin; mischievous son, Joseph Dale; and siblings,
Charles Weaver, Hattie Mae Davis, Ethel Lee Johnson, and Christine
Lizzie Mae Smith leaves in this life to cherish and celebrate her
memory: her two loving sons, Kenery and Bryant; six grandchildren,
LaToya, LaTonya, Jennifer, Jason (Erica), Whitney, and Joe; two bonus
grandchildren, Frank and Altrice Blount; a host of great-grandchildren;
five siblings, Inez Weaver, Geraldine Stewart, D. C. Weaver, Bertha
(Andrew) King, and Shirley Washington; 15 nieces and nephews;
numerous great-nieces and nephews, and a whole lot of other extended
family, friends, and loved ones.

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March 22, 2024

11:00 AM
St.Paul C.M.E. Church
4644 S Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60609

Video is available for this event

Funeral Service
March 22, 2024

12:00 PM
St.Paul C.M.E. Church
4644 S Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60609

Video is available for this event

Interment following funeral service
March 22, 2024

Burr Oak Cemetery
4400 W 127th St
Alsip, IL 60803


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