Cover photo for Gloria Smith's Obituary
Gloria Smith Profile Photo
1934 Gloria 2023

Gloria Smith

September 28, 1934 — December 28, 2023

Gloria Pauline Bell Smith, 89, of Trussville, Ala., died December 28, 2023.

 

Gloria was born on September 28, 1934 to Thomas and Clara Lee (Johnson) Bell. She split her time between her mother in Birmingham, Ala. and father and stepmother Reno, Nev. After graduating secretarial college, she worked as a bookkeeper for the local government.

 

In January 1955, Gloria married Joe Belton Smith II in Georgia. They made their home in Birmingham and went on to have three sons – Joe, Robert, and Thomas. She and Joe joined a bowling league in Roebuck in the 1960s and 70s, winning awards and championships. Upon retirement and becoming “empty nesters,” they moved to Central Florida and settled into the small creative community of Mount Dora.

Gloria was an accomplished artist and art teacher, with works in many media including drawing, colored pencils, watercolors, oils, acrylics, and pastels. Her subjects included landscapes, animals, and tributes to her family’s traditional native heritage. She wanted to use her art to tell stories, exhibiting her final pieces in galleries and art shows throughout the South and Central Florida and often winning awards.

In 1991, Gloria and her friend the late Joady Perrett opened the Little House on Donnelly, Inc., a place where local artists could take classes, explore their craft, and find community in the Mount Dora creative scene. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Lake Eustis Museum of Art in Tavares (Fla.). 

She also was a member of several creative arts organizations in Alabama and Central Florida, including the Cahawba ART Association in Trussville, Ala., where she also served as treasurer. She often worked with school teachers to enable them to bring art into their classrooms and taught art, often for no or low costs, to any child wanting to learn how to draw or paint even until just a few weeks before her passing.

Gloria could usually be found at a book club or with her cat. She loved traveling, especially to Florida beaches, and collecting bells and angels, which family and friends frequently sent her to add to her collection from around the world.

A woman of faith, Gloria was a lifelong Episcopalian church member including membership at Grace Episcopal Church (Birmingham, Ala.), St. Edward’s Episcopal Church (Mt. Dora, Fla.), and Church of the Holy Cross (Trussville, Ala.). She always found a way to stay involved, volunteering for multiple church events, Bible studies, creative groups, and participation in the Altar Guild and her local chapters of Episcopal Church Women (ECW).

Gloria was predeceased by her parents and Joe, her husband of 42 years. She is survived by her sons, their families, including 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, her beloved nieces and nephews, and close friends.

A private family service will be held at the end of January. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Gloria’s spiritual home of Church of the Holy Cross in Trussville, Ala., and to take an art class. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gloria Smith, please visit our flower store.

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