School 12

Sarah Virginia Smith

July 31, 1920 ~ March 12, 2019 (age 98)


Sarah Virginia Smith, age 98, passed away March 12 in Sebring, Ohio.  Mrs. Smith was born in Moundsville, West Virginia, to Onward Emmett and Fannie Burge.  She was raised in Cameron, West Virginia.  Sarah obtained an Associate Degree in Elementary Education in 1939 from Fairmont State College, Ohio.  She then taught in the Freeport, Ohio, public schools from 1941 – 1944, where she met her future husband, Howard R. Smith.  Married in 1943, Sarah and Howard moved to Louisville, Ohio in 1944, where they resided for 57 years.  Sarah taught in the Canton and Louisville public schools until 1949, when she took time off to have children.  During this time she graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1958.  She then taught elementary education in the Louisville Public School System until 1982.  Over the years Sarah also performed many unsung hero tasks helping her husband, Howard, with the Louisville High School marching band, from chaperoning on the band bus to typing newspaper articles to organizing picnics.


A member of the prestigious Delta Kappa Gamma, a women’s teacher’s honorary society, Mrs. Smith was also elected as a Jennings Scholar by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation in 1974.  The Jennings Foundation recognizes professional enthusiasm and excellence in teaching in the Ohio public schools.  She earned a Master of Science Education degree from the University of Akron in 1975, with a specialty in elementary reading.  She was a member of the Paradise United Church of Christ in Louisville. 


Sarah loved children and spent her entire life teaching children to love learning and, especially, to love reading.  She thought that a love of books would foster children’s imagination and open their minds to the greater world.  She also enjoyed traveling and camping with her family.  During her retirement she discovered a love of golf and she and Howard spent many years traveling around the country, playing golf, and wintering in Leesburg, Florida.  The past 18 years they spent living at Copeland Oaks Retirement Community in Sebring, Ohio. 


Mrs. Smith is survived by one brother, Onward Emmett Burge (Sarah Lou) of Cameron, WV, daughter Brenda Wakeham (Stuart) of Bainbridge Island, WA,  son Crispin Smith (Linda) of Green, OH, grandsons Ryan Wakeham (Shannon) of Minnetonka, MN, and Colin Wakeham, of Portland, OR.  She also has two great-grandsons in Minnesota. 


A private family burial service will be held on Friday, March 15, in Union Cemetery, Louisville, Ohio, with the Rev. Dr. David Anderson officiating.  Memorial donations may be made in Mrs. Smith’s name to the Louisville Public Library, 700 Lincoln Ave., Louisville, OH 44641.  Online condolences may be left at

                                                Stier-Israel Funeral Home


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Private Family Burial

Union Cemetery
8787 Louisville Street NE
Louisville, OH 44641


Louisville Public Library
700 Lincoln Ave, Louisville OH 44641

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