Stella Rhea Smiley, age 87, went home to be with her Lord on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at her home at Governor’s Bend in Erwin, TN. She was born in Johnson County, TN on November 23, 1932 to the late James Calvin and Arrie Swift Church. In addition to her parents, Stella was preceded in death by her husband, James “Jim” Smiley; twin sister, Nella Faye; other sisters, Marjorie Church, Anna Pearl Miller, June Hedger; brothers, David Church and Claude Church.
Stella’s main goal in life was to take as many souls to heaven with her as she could. Along with being a servant to God, she loved to travel. During her many travels, she had the opportunity to visit the Holy Lands twice. Also, in her endeavor to spread the gospel she loved to teach Sunday school, which she did for 26 years, sing in the choir, and play the hand bells. As her memory began to fail her, she had a hard time remembering names so she began to call all women Miss America to make them feel good.
Stella was an auxiliary member of the American Legion and VFW. She was also a devoted member of First Baptist Church and served as chaplain of the local branch of Gideons International Auxiliary. She always carried extra copies of the Gideon’s New Testament to enable herself to witness to others.
Those left to cherish her memories include her sisters, Lois Long and Della Mae Magnus; special friends, Buster and Peggy Brown, Sherry Orcutt, Ruth Brown; special niece, Mary Jane Clay, and her beloved dog, Dixie. Stella and her two sisters were some of the first campers of CBM Ministries in Tennessee. Stella graduated from Southern Bible College and continued to be instrumental in the continuation of CBM ministries.
The family will receive friends from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at First Baptist Church. A funeral service will follow at 4:00 p.m. with Pastor Ricky Campbell officiating. A graveside service and burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, March 2, 2020 at Wilson Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Terry Jordan, Jerry Jordan, Danny Cullop, Eric Cullop, Joseph Tipton, and Buster Brown. Honorary pallbearers will be the nurses of Caris Hospice, Zanya, Barbara, Jessica, Rachel, and Carol.
At other times, the family will receive friends at the home of Lois Long, 156 Butler Lane, Mountain City, TN 37683. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Stella’s honor to the Gideons, P.O. Box 155, Mountain City, TN 37683. The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Governor’s Bend and Caris Hospice. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.mountaincityfh.com .The family of Stella Rhea Smiley has entrusted her services to Mountain City Funeral Home, 224 S. Church St., Mountain City, TN 37683.