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3000 E. Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47401
Phone: 812-333-4400
Fax: 812-333-4445
Mary D. Smith-Forrest

Mary D. Smith-Forrest

Friday, April 5th, 1946 - Friday, May 3rd, 2019
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Mary D. Smith-Forrest was born on April 5, 1946. She is the fourth child born to Robert Lee and Vella Mae (Howard) Smith, and as their 2nd daughter, in Belzoni, Mississippi.
Her early childhood was filled with laughter and love, as she gained strength from God through the prayers of her mother and grandmother. She attended and was later baptized into the New Foundation Missionary Baptist Church in Hollandale, Mississippi. She attended Simmons High School in that city.
She moved to Detroit, Michigan, married and out of that union she gave birth to three beautiful daughters, Sonia Faye, Kassandra Jean, and Anntoinette.
The family moved to Bloomington, Indiana to have a safer community to raise their three daughters. Here, the family joined the Second Baptist Church, Bloomington under the Pastoral Leadership of The Rev. Dr. E.D. Butler. She was very active in church activities where she was often asked, "of all your accomplishments, what are three things you are most proud of"? Mary would smile and it seemed like she would step back into another time and place for a moment and then reply, first of all, "my kingdom building work for the Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ. I loved being in his service to serve and help others. Second, raising three incredible daughters; and third, I have enjoyed serving the Bloomington Community by being elected President to boards such as Dr. Martin Luther King Commission, the Commission on the Status of Women, the local branch of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. I know you asked me to pick three but, I have to choose four. I must mention attending Indiana University at the ripe old age of fifty-eight and earning not only one, but two degrees, a Bachelors of Arts and a Master's in the College of Arts and Sciences, from the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS)".
Mary was preceded in death by her beloved mother, Mrs. Vella Mae (Howard) Smith, and father, Mr. Robert Lee Smith Sr., of Hollandale, Mississippi, baby brother, Mr. Jerry Allen Smith (died at birth), of Hollandale, Mississippi, brothers, Mr. Charles Henry Smith of Hollandale, Mississippi, and Mr. Robert Lee Smith, Jr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as sister, Mrs. Irma Smith Parnell of Hollandale, Mississippi, and also by her son-in-law, The Rev. Dr. R. Thomas Coleman, Sr., of Richmond, CA.
She leaves to cherish her legacy and memories, three daughters, Mrs. Sonia Faye Forrest-Coleman of Richmond, CA, Mrs. Kassandra Forrest-Weddle of Bloomington, IN and Anntoinette Forrest-Taylor (son-in-law Danny) of Indianapolis, IN. She also leaves to mourn, three sisters: Lois Eva Smith of Greenvile, Mississippi, Mrs. Ann Smith-Austin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Elder Mrs. Linda Carrol Smith-Mitchell (brother-in-law Walther) of Hollandale, Mississippi, and one brother, Mr. Ollie David Smith of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mary also leaves to mourn her five loving grandchildren: R. Thomas Coleman, III, Jonathan E. Coleman, Jonathon T. Wampler, Emmanuel Thomas-Jackson and Alissa Thomas. She also leaves a host of grand and great grandchildren via Sonia's marriage and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. A sister-in-law, Mrs. Cathryn Smith of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a grand nephew (Mr. Johnu Smith drafted by the Tennessee Titans) and leaves a host of friends and neighbors throughout the United States. Mary's Honorary Daughters are: Mrs. Cynthia Debro-Williams of Illinois; Ms. Katrina Dotson of South Bend, Indiana, Ms. Virginia Githri, PhD. of Bloomington, Indiana.
Family and friends are welcome to pay their respects to Mary on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 4-8 pm at The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard 3000 E. Third St. Bloomington.
Mary's Homegoing Service will be 11:00 am Friday May 10, 2019 at The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard. Pastor's Kevin Hopkins and Donald Griffin will preside over the services and entombment will follow at Valhalla Memory Gardens in Bloomington.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, May 9th, 2019 | 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Thursday, May 9th, 2019 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    The Funeral Chapel
    3000 E. Third St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday, May 10th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Friday, May 10th, 2019 11:00am
    The Funeral Chapel
    3000 E. Third St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Valhalla Memory Gardens
    310 N. Johnson Ave.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Dr. Norris Chumley

Posted at 08:21am
I am greatly saddened by the news of Mary falling asleep in the Lord, but also happy as she will be in the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ms. Smith-Forrest (“do not forget the hyphen and it’s two r’s in Forrest,” she always reminded!) was a sophisticated and educated lady who was always a champion of justice, equal-rights and morals. She was a friend to our family for many years, and very close to my mutual friend, Betty (Deal) Newman and the Deal/Ramey family, also for many years. I will miss visiting her when I’m in Bloomington; especially our candid and truth-to-the-point conversations. I’ll especially miss attending Church with her. I send my deepest condolences to her family and cherished friends.

Edward Maxedon

Posted at 03:31pm
Our sincerest condolences to Mary’s family.
Mary’s kindness, compassion, generosity and humor were valued by so many people across this community.
What a privilege to have known this person and call her friend.
We will keep Mary’s memory alive in our hearts.
Ed and Leslie Maxedon


Posted at 02:24pm
My sincere condolence and deepest sympathy . No doubt this is a difficult time for the family. While word fail to capture the pain of losing a loved one, we look forward to the time when words will fail to capture the joy of having our heavenly Father return your dear one to you. John 5:28,29 Psalm 37:11,29

Carol Edge

Posted at 10:03am
Mary was my friend for 30 years, through ups and downs and all-arounds. We shared so much laughter; conversations about our childhoods, race, religion, and food; mutual interest in international affairs, civil rights, and politics. And so many Thanksgiving dinners! It was a race to see who would eat more dressing.
For years, we both hosted international students and enjoyed taking them places together. Our favorite destination was local state parks, especially Spring Mill, where Mary always stopped in the old mill to buy a package of stone-ground cornmeal. Mary was finicky about her cornbread and could tell those students all about that Southern favorite. As time went by and we grew older, those trips were less frequent, but Mary always wanted to return to the park, someday.
A beautiful woman, Mary was also poised and well spoken, living her life as a Christian and always respecting other people's perspectives. She added so much to my life through our friendship and through my observations of her dealings with other people. I know her kindness and attention to young people, in addition to her civic and church work, inspired those she mentors as well as others.
She was the inspiration for the main character in a story I wrote. The working name for the story was "Friends Forever," and that became our motto. Our chapter has ended, Mary, but the story goes on and on.
With love, your forever friend, Carol

Julio Alonso

Posted at 11:53am
Remembering an amazing woman, colleague and friend, with love and condolences to her family.
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