May 15, 2022, 96, Indian Springs –
Nelda Kornegay Smith, 96, of Indian Springs, North Carolina, passed away peacefully with her family by her side at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on May 15th, 2022.
Born in Duplin County, on February 1st, 1926, to Gladys Herring Kornegay and Edgar Poe Kornegay, she lived a quaint farm life and inherited a love of reading from both her parents, due primarily in part to her father’s habitual reading of the daily newspaper, and her mothers maintaining a small library in her home, supplied by the Duplin County Bookmobile, for the convenience of her friends and community.
She was the widow of the late William Harris “Bill” Smith, farmer and World War II veteran. They were very active in the Methodist Church for years and shared a love of music and community; they also enjoyed life on the farm they built together, and she lived there for her remaining days.
Mrs. Smith served faithfully for over 40 years as Bookkeeper and Payroll Coordinator at Mount Olive College, retiring at the age of 81.
She is survived by her three daughters, Caroline Smith Phillips and the late Sidney Warren Phillips of Seven Springs, Cynthia Smith Parker of Hampstead, Melody Smith Wilson and husband, Michael David Wilson of Wilmington; grandchildren Dr. Sidney Warren Phillips Jr. and wife, Dr. Whitney Scott Phillips, of Wilmington and Raleigh, Lesley Parker Richardson and husband, Christopher Todd Richardson of Hampstead, Elizabeth Phillips Carroll and husband, Daniel John Carroll, of Raleigh, Dr. Graham Harris Wilson and wife, Dr. Hallie Coleman Wilson of Wilmington, and Dr. Michael Cliff Wilson, and wife, Erica Collier Wilson of Holly Springs. In addition, she is survived by eleven great-grandchildren and was preceded in death by her sisters, Lena Smith and Violette Phillips, and her brother, Donnell E. Kornegay, Sr. Mrs. Smith remained close to her many nieces and nephews. She was especially thankful for her dear friend and neighbor, Deborah Lewis, who was always willing to lend her a helping hand.
Mrs. Smith, or “Grandmommy” as most of us lovingly called her, was the epitome of strength, dignity, and positivity. Her favorite saying, “Don’t worry until you have to” was a motto that many of her friends and family lived by and took to heart. Her love of flowers was evident by the yard “tours” she often gave her visitors; she pointed out her favorites as her guests soaked in her passion and love for the land. She also enjoyed birdwatching from her living room windows lined with flower boxes and cloud-like cotton fields in the background. She learned to sew at an early age, and she was proud to make her daughters’ clothes through their adolescent years. She gifted baby blankets with crocheted decorative edges to many generations of family and friends.
Her warm biscuits were legendary, and she loved cutting and buttering them for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they dashed to the kitchen for a pre-meal treat. Her favorite meal to prepare for the family included country-style steak, butter beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, cream-style corn, and sweet tea. There was an ongoing competition amongst her grandchildren about who got the last morsels of corn and mashed potatoes. After a meal at Grandmommy’s, porch time often followed to chat and enjoy the country breeze while her great-grandchildren climbed the birch trees in her front yard.
A visit to Mrs. Smith’s home was a special gift of true southern hospitality; her optimism, generosity, integrity, and advice were a reminder of the most important things in life. She was the true Matriarch of our family, and she will live on in each of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, and friends. We are blessed she played such an instrumental role in our lives for so many years.
A Graveside Service, officiated by the Rev. Phyllis Vail, will be held on Saturday, May 21st, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. at Maplewood Cemetery in Mount Olive with a visitation to follow at the graveside of the funeral. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Seven Springs United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 64, Seven Springs, NC, 28578.