Melba Lively Smart was born in Grapeland at home Jan. 15, 1927. She passed away Oct. 28, 2019. She had 10 brothers and sisters and grew up in a home surrounded by a loving family.
She married the love of her life, D.W. Smart of Fairfield, on Nov. 18, 1944. They lived in Grapeland until D.W. went into the Army in 1945.
They had their first daughter, Sheilia, in Sept. 1945 and had three more daughters, Charlotte, Sharon and Brenda.
She and her family moved around many times following D.W. in the oil field. They moved to Palestine, where she received her nursing license at the age of 35.
The family moved to Ben Wheeler in Nov. 1970, where she worked for Dr. Oglesby in Ben Wheeler and then worked at the Canton Nursing Home. She loved her career of nursing.
She was a loyal member of the Van Zandt County Eastern Stars. She was a member of the Van lodge for many years.
She never met a stranger, she loved everyone, and everyone loved her. Her greatest joy later in life was her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law: Sheilia and Robert Betterton, Charlotte Essary, Sharon and Alan Stehsel and Brenda Conner; grandchildren: Dedra Crouch, Dina and Carlos Thompson, Deanna and Ricky Dougan, Gerald and Jennifer Essary, Wayne Essary, Bree and Scott Schock, Derrick Hammond, Shayna and Steven Horne and Marc and Rachel Conner; 25 great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Eugene Claude Lively and Mary Ethel Denson Lively; her husband, D.W. Smart; her son-in-law, Harvey Essary; brothers and sisters: Marshall Lively, J.C. Lively, Lois Salter, Inez Duncan, Lillian Lively, Eugene Lively, Jr., Aubrey Lively, Lucille McDaniel, Preston Lively and Donald Lively.
She was taken to Eubank Funeral Home in Canton and her memorial was held Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, at Sunset Christian Church in Grapeland. Interment was in Davis Cemetery in Grapeland. The grandchildren served as pallbearers.
She will be remembered for her love of her family and friends but most especially for her ready smile.