Valerie Amelia Smith was the only child born to the late Edgar J. and Mildred Louapre. She was born in New Orleans, LA on August 31, 1928.
At the early age of 16, Valerie began attending Louisiana State University at the same time as many men were returning from active duty after the end of World War II. She often spoke of the positive impact this had on her view of life. Her experience as a 16 year old could not compare to the life altering experience of those that served in that war. One of those returning service members was a Navy veteran, Joseph Smith, who was currently on a date with Valerie’s best friend. She immediately knew he was the one for her and promptly stole him, without losing her best friend, and never turned loose.
Psalms 113:9 He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Valerie and Joseph always wanted a large family, although she was told she would not be able to conceive she shifted her focus to helping others. She and Joseph adopted two children before they were blessed with a son of their very own, Matthew. Although God answered their prayers in giving them a child of their very own, they opened their home three more times.
She attended LSU earning a degree in Speech Pathology, then began working at the Speech and Hearing Center where she remained until her retirement. Through her own children she became involved with the Special Olympics where she coached track, swimming, and Bocce. She also volunteered with C.A.R.C. where her daughter Barbara worked.
Raising her children in the church was important to her. She was a member of St. Luke-Simpson United Methodist Church.
In her later years, she stated the only regret she had was that she did not finish her PhD in speech therapy. Her outlook on it however spoke volumes to her character. She did not measure the importance of her life by what she achieved personally, but by the impact she had in helping others achieve their own milestones.
She was welcomed into Heaven on September 12, 2022 at the age of 94 by her devoted husband of sixty years Joseph Smith; son, Robin Smith, daughter Barbara Smith, and a grandson Nikolaus Smith.
Those left to cherish her memory and carry on her legacy: four sons, Matthew (Valerie Noland) Smith of Arizona, Marshall Smith of Lake Charles, AJ (Deborah) Smith of Lake Charles, and Jim (Lou Ann) Smith of North Carolina; grandchildren, Tracey Morgan, Tiffany Wilkinson, James Alan Smith, Joel Smith, Chelsea Smith Lemen, Christopher Smith, Charles Gross; great grandchildren, Adia Smith, Embry Smith, Caitlynn Morgan, Kyle Morgan, Samantha Wilkinson, Elijah Smith, Amelia Riggs-Bell, Destiny Lemen, Serenity Lemen, Samantha Lemen.
In honor of Valerie’s memory, the family invites you to make a donation in her name to the non-profit Special Olympics Louisiana.
There will be a brief service celebrating Valerie’s life on Thursday September 22, 2022 at 10:00 AM on the columbarium grounds at St. Luke-Simpson United Methodist Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana.