Obituary of Ona Burns Smith

Ona Burns Smith

Ona Burns Smith, 62, “Best All Around” superlative of the 1964 class of Grady High School in Atlanta, leaves a legacy of a life lived in service.

The Atlanta native dedicated her life to promoting understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and equal access to educational services through quiet activism in the field of homeschooling. A  National Merit Finalist, Stetson University honor graduate, beauty queen and  a beautiful steel magnolia who chose the humble path of servant all the way into eternity.

Our culture would collapse without women such as Ona. Her radiant, “wily-coyote” approach to life has propped up the high profile activities of those around her. During her life, she was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother who pioneered the concept of homeschooling in Georgia as she sought an appropriate education for each of her four children.

With no existing homeschool curriculum, Ona developed a “lived curriculum” that incorporated global learning experiences through extensive national and international travel. History was brought to life by travels to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Economics and cultural awareness were experienced through visits to many of the beautiful cities of Europe as well as several third world countries. Ona always insisted that her children embrace these diverse cultural experiences by incorporating hands-on service activities as a part of their travels.

In the community, Ona was a Sunday School Teacher, deacon’s wife and a recipient of Yard of the Month from the Avondale Estates Garden Club. Ona and Gary participated in several international mission trips, especially to Latin America.   Ona was a loving wife, who supported her husband of 38 years, as he took a leap of faith to leave his lucrative law practice to follow their calling to pastor churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. Like all dedicated servants, Ona’s constant devotion, support, and love endured to the end when she lost her courageous battle with breast cancer on May 1, 2009.

She is survived by her husband, Gary W. Smith; her children, Jessica and Andy Norman, Christopher R. and Amanda Smith, Cicely and Pablo Quintana, and Charles G. and Julie Smith; her sisters, Ellen and Michael Hurst, Jacqueline and Gordon Scullion, and ten grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 3:00 PM at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church, 47 Covington Road, Avondale Estates, GA 30002.

The family will receive family and friends for visitation on Saturday, May 2 from 4 to 9 p.m. at A. S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home, 2773 North Decatur Rd and on Sunday, May 3, from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Southwest Christian Care 7225 Lester Road, Union City, GA 30291. A. S. Turner & Sons

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