Marjorie King Smith at 100 – A life well lived

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Marjorie “Margy” King Smith, a resident of Brookview Lodge at The Woodland in Farmville, was born March 9, 1922 and grew up on a cotton and peanut farm outside the small town of Seaboard, North Carolina. From an early age, she helped with the chores around the house and on the farm along with older sister, Emily. She was no stranger to picking cotton by hand as depicted in her painting of a cotton field on their farm.

Growing up, each day Margy walked a mile to her school which was located across the road from a general store owned by her grandfather. She developed a love of drama as a child that has continued throughout her life. She starred in the role of Anne in “Anne of Green Gables,” her high school senior class play.

After graduation, she joined her sister in Richmond, to attend a professional school to train as a certified medical records technician. While riding the bus to Richmond after a visit back home, she met Robert “Bob” King, a handsome Marine who was headed home to Fluvanna County on leave. After his discharge from active duty, Margy and “Bob” were married on April 4, 1946 and moved to Arvonia. Soon after, she started the first Girl Scout troop in Buckingham County.

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Margy came to know the Lord at age 29. Over the years, she served as a Sunday School teacher and children’s program leader at Welcome Wesleyan Church in Buckingham. For 20 years, she directed the Wesleyan Kids For Missions program for the State of Virginia. She had a puppet ministry for 30 years and presented well over 150 programs in churches and schools around the state. Many will remember her ventriloquist dummy, “WayneBoy.” Faith Christmas, one of the activity assistants at Brookview AL/ Watson MC at The Woodland, described Margy as a wonderful storyteller. She said, “when she tells a story it feels like you are being transported to that specific time.”

She is best known by family and friends for her art. She began painting in high school and still has the first painting she ever completed. She wears the medal given to her as the “outstanding art student” almost every day. Elise Hemmer, activities director for Brookview AL/ Watson MC at The Woodland, said “she is on the go! Since my brief time working here, I see how she shares her talents with everyone and is always encouraging others to experience and explore art no matter what their artistic background.”

In 1957, Margy and Bob moved to a new home near Gold Hill. She began teaching art classes in the basement and continued teaching there for 25 years. She taught art at Calvary Christian School near New Canton for 20 years. She enjoyed participating in art shows and the Five County Fair in Farmville. She holds the record for the most Blue Ribbons awarded in a single year and has won a total of 42 Blue Ribbons. Many of her Blue Ribbons are displayed on a dress that can be found hanging proudly in her closet.

Bob passed away in January 2004. Later that year, she married longtime family friend, J.R. Smith. In 2011, she and JR moved to an independent living apartment at The Woodland in Farmville. They moved into Brookview Lodge assisted-living center in 2018. JR passed away in 2019.

Margy held a weekly art class in Brookview until COVID. Today, she participates in daily devotions and enjoys exercise classes, visiting with friends during meals, and playing the old hymns of the church on her keyboard. She will occasionally put paint to canvas when a special memory comes to mind.

Her son, Wayne King and his wife, Mary, from Oklahoma, and their children, Tammi, from New Jersey, and Michael, from Oregon, will be with her on March 9th as she marks her 100th birthday. A party for extended family and friends is planned for June 25 in Farmville.