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.
Instead of giving flowers, please give a donation to your favorite charity.