Nellie Matthews Smith

Nellie Matthews Smith, age 101, passed away on Thursday, May 19, 2022.  Nellie was born in Robersonville, NC on June 8, 1920, to George Frederick Matthews, Sr., and Susie Roebuck Matthews. She grew up as a farm girl proudly working side by side with her father and mother. She learned hard work and perseverance from her father and mother.  Nothing stopped her.  Nellie worked for Coats and Clark as a machine operator for over 25 years.  She also helped with the war effort by sewing tents for the military. Momma Smith loved unconditionally and everyone who touched her life loved her in return. Nellie has been a member of Parkview United Methodist Church since 1956 and was active in many of the women’s programs.  

In addition to her parents, Nellie was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, James E. Smith, Sr., six sisters, three brothers, and her daughter, Sylvia Jean.  She is survived by her sons, James E. Smith, Jr. (Martha) of Jackson, Mississippi, Elliott R. Smith (Susan) of Katy, Texas, and Aaron C. Smith of Florida and daughter, Juanita Stacey (Alan) Carrollton, Virginia. In addition, she is survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter, Elena Sage Nesbitt.

We want to thank her family, Donna, Dawn, Steve, and Gene Allan for the love, support, and prayers they have given. You were here beside us when our need was so great.   Thank you to all her friends who visited and kept her spirits up and to the nurses and staff who gave such loving care.  

Our heartfelt love and gratitude to Shirley McRae for the love, care, comfort, and companionship she gave without hesitation. Momma Smith loved Shirley like a daughter and we will be forever grateful.  

The family will receive friends on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home with a funeral service following at 2:00 p.m.  Interment will be immediately following the service at Peninsula Memorial Park.

Arrangements by Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Rev Timothy Porter

    Nellie was an inspiration to everyone who knew and loved her.
    I am blessed to have been her pastor. Blessings and condolences to the entire family.

  2. Lynda Smith

    Nellie will always be remembered for loving to work in her yard.
    Also, children in the neighborhood will remember waiting for the school bus on her front porch during heavy rains.
    As a teen and through the years she always greeted me with love. I never forgot the love she gave me.

  3. Sherry Huycke

    Nellie was always a joy to stop and talk with whenever we would see her outside on our way to or from momma’s house up the street where I grew up. All of you mean a lot to me as we all grew up together. I believe your mom was the last “original” homeowner on 72nd Street. Such memories.
    Hank, as your classmate, I especially enjoyed seeing and talking with you at our last reunion. Condolences to all of you, we loved your mom and dad!
    Sherry Hensel Huycke

  4. Debbie Edmondson Cole

    So sorry to hear of Aunt Nellie’s death. She was such a strong lady and Mom loved her so much.
    I regret not keeping in touch after Mom passed. Always meant to.

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