Obituary: Sarah Ellen Smith (1938-2023)

Sarah Ellen Smith (Age 85)

Sarah Ellen Smith, age 85, passed away in Stafford, Virginia, on Sunday, May 14, 2023.

She is survived by her children, Deborah Ann Hetu (Robert) of Maryville, TN., Barry Scott Smith, Sr. (Michelle Brantley) of Pembroke Pines, FL., and Kelley Lynn Wallace (Timothy) of Stafford, VA.; her grandchildren, Christopher Hetu (Dawn Jones), Jordan Allen (Travis), Sarah Hetu, Emily Vahey (Phillip), Janie Hetu, Barry Smith II, Michelle Sin (Christian), Justin Smith, Shelby Smith, and Matthew Wallace (Suzanne).

She will also be greatly missed by her great-grandchildren, Collin Hetu, Parker, Cooper, & Coleman Allen, and Addison Wallace; her sister, Patricia Joan Dietz (Donald); and her brother, James Michael Kines, Sr.

She was the daughter of the late James Fred and Electa Loise (Cunningham) Kines.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 32 years, Jerry Tom Smith, and her infant brother, Billy Wayne Kines.

Sarah was born in Centre, Alabama, on January 30, 1938. She grew up in Anniston, where she met her husband, Jerry. She traveled the world with her husband and children and moved to Northern Virginia in 1979. She settled in Stafford in 1991. She and her husband pastored Lighthouse Pentecostal Holiness Church in Triangle, and after her husband passed, she pastored River of Life Ministries in Stafford. She worked many years in retail and retired in 1997.

She was loved by many and known by many names, including: Ellen, Sister, Toots, Mama, Mom, Grannie, Nana, Gigi, Squirt, Jelly Bean, Cutie, Sister Smith, and Pastor.

She was known for how she loved her family and could always be counted on for her quick wit. She was fully capable of spinning a story into a tall tale before announcing “Faux News” and then cackling with delight. She loved flowers and gardening, interior decorating, travelling the world, chasing down southern gospel singers for an autograph, playing piano, and writing songs. Most of all, she was a follower of Jesus.

She was fearless in going where others did not go, including prisons and the backstreets of the Philippines. Her priorities were to help and love others, proclaim the gospel, and share the love of Jesus.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Shriners (

A visitation for Sarah will be held from 10:00 am-11:00 am on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Stafford Chapel. A celebration of life for Sarah Ellen will occur Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at 11:00 am at the funeral home.

Immediately after, she will be laid to rest with her husband at Quantico National Cemetery.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Smith family.

Submitted by Mullins and Thompson Funeral Service

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