On Wednesday, May 17th, 2023, Rosa Catherine Smith, the embodiment of West Texas hospitality, passed peacefully at her home in Burnet, Texas with her devoted son, James Henry Smith, at her side.
Born December 3rd, 1931, to William Samual and Lillie Vie Rhinehart French in Anson, Texas, Rosa was one of five sisters. Her formative years were spent in sun-drenched cotton fields, fostering a deep respect for hard work and the importance of nurturing relationships with friends and family.
After graduating high school, Rosa moved from the tiny farming town of Hawley to the big city of Abilene, where she formed many lifelong friendships and began her 35-year career with Southwestern Bell. Starting as a switchboard operator, she worked her way up and retired as a respected supervisor in Midland, Texas.
She was living in nearby Odessa when her neighbor James first asked her out. His persistence and charm eventually won her heart, and they were married in Doug and Edith Adams house on March 1, 1969. With this union, she gained a teenage son, James Henry Smith, and began building a life enriched by community and kinship. Their home was the heart and kitchen of Bonham Avenue, and they cherished their friendships with their next-door neighbors the Williamsons and the Alreds, who became like family. She especially enjoyed the annual tradition of making Christmas candy with Mollie Alred.
Rosa found joy in life's many pleasures, whether shopping for the latest styles, tending to her garden and her hummingbirds, camping in Ruidoso, gambling in Las Vegas, or hosting guests at her home. People joke that Rosa always made enough to feed an army and could whip up a feast from scratch in a moment's notice. No one ever left Rosa’s house hungry!
Rosa cherished the moments spent with her family, including her son, James Henry and his wife Candice; three granddaughters, Jessica Burke, and husband Ryan and their children, Brody and Owen, Allison Veer, and husband, Udit and their children, Eloise and Harrison, Pamela Harvey, and husband, Miguel and their children, Dylan and Gram; and great-nephew Brent Gailey, and wife Espi and their children, James, Jonathan, and Jovani. These visits, filled with love and sweet treats, formed an integral part of her life.
Rosa is preceded in death by her first husband Leslie Lewter; her parents; sisters, Christine, Jane, BillieRay, and Frances; and in 2013 her best friend and sweetheart, James Edward who she will rest peacefully beside in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Rosa Smith, a true West Texas gem, will be deeply missed and forever admired. Her legacy of generosity, boundless love, and appreciation for life’s simple joys continues to inspire her family and everyone who knew her.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, with burial immediately following in Sunset Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Door of Hope in Odessa.