Beloved wife and mother Rita Buckner Smith went home to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, November 27 at the age of 85. Born in 1934 to John Kenneth Buckner and Athlene Shepherd Buckner in Asheville, North Carolina, her youth was spent immersed in music, arts, horseback riding and of course, all things involving 1st Baptist Church of Asheville. Upon graduation from High School she attended Furman University. While at Furman she met the love of her life and future husband Robert "Bob" Boynton Smith on a fortuitous blind date. After a brief courtship they were married in the summer of 1953 and moved to Richmond, Virginia where Bob was to attend Seminary. While in Richmond she completed her undergraduate studies at William and Mary. Upon graduation from Seminary, they eagerly set sail for Edinburgh, Scotland for additional studies at The University of Edinburgh. While in Scotland, she taught elementary school, which led to many interesting stories for the family in the years to come. During their time abroad, there were many opportunities for travel and they took advantage of their time to extensively travel throughout Europe and the Middle East. After two years overseas they returned and landed in New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, she was able to obtain a Masters Degree from Tulane University. In the next few years they would start a family, which from that point on became the center of her life. Over the next 50 years, living in Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia, she was involved in each community she found herself, leaving a lasting impact on people wherever she was. She was a woman that met challenges head-on and never let setbacks stand in her way. The center of her life was always faith and family. A tattered, broken-spined and loosely bound Bible, generously, frequently and thoughtfully noted was her steady and continuous companion from the beginning to the very end. We will miss her wit, feistiness and grit, but take great comfort, as she did, in the wonderful promises of perfect things yet to come and waiting, made possible through her abiding faith in Jesus Christ. She is survived by sons Buckner and Boynton (Elizabeth) Smith, granddaughters Adair and Amelia Smith, and sister Virginia Buckner Edens. She is preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Dr. Robert Boynton Smith. Graveside services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 5, 2019 in Tupelo Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorials be made to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society or The Parkinson's Foundation. Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.
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