We can never lose what we have once enjoyed; all that we deeply love becomes part of us, such as the beautiful memories we all share of Velma Sue Newburn Smith. She was born on April 12, 1957, to Joseph Newburn and Mildred Yarber Newburn. She accepted Christ at a young age and was baptized at Mt. Morriah Baptist Church where her grandfather Rev. J. S. Newburn pastored for over 30 years.
Velma was bright and lively. She excelled as a student and was always serious about attaining her education. She graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 1975.
She met the handsome Roy Smith and after an appropriate period of courtship, they were married on March 26, 1994, and she was a devoted wife. She loved her children passionately and was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
She dutifully fulfilled her role as a helpmate and First Lady to Rev. Roy Smith by supporting him in ministry at Beech Hill A.M.E. Church. She was no doubt both Baptist and Methodist. Velma and Roy made a wonderful team – he for his hard work and dedication to providing for his family and her for her ability to introduce her family to new and exciting things. Velma was committed to putting her faith into action, whether she was balancing the demands of helping her “pastor husband”, raising their children, or working as a life skills aide.
Velma was an employee of the Arkadelphia Human Development Center where she retired after 18 years of continuous service. She loved shopping and getting the perfect manicure. In her spare time, she enjoyed traveling and spending quality time with her family.
After years of a good life, she traded time for eternity and passed on Friday, February 3, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents; Joseph Newburn (2016) and Mildred Newburn (1984); and a sister, Betty J. Newburn (1946).
Velma leaves an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of many. Some learned from her, as well as, those who she inspired.
A lifetime of love and memories will be felt by her husband, Rev. Roy Smith of Arkadelphia, AR; her children: Tamiko Thompson of Arkadelphia, AR, Davion Smith (Candice Selfridge) of Tulsa, OK, Yury Buckley of Hot Springs, AR and Bryon Smith (Theolia Childs) of Dallas, TX; fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She also leaves her siblings, Juanita Hogan of Dallas, TX, Helen Neal, Quincy (Lafrances) Newburn, Billy Charles (Dorothy) Newburn, Mamie Newburn, and Lenore Newburn all of Arkadelphia, AR; an aunt, Maureen Newburn Owens of Arkadelphia, AR; special friends, Kim Yarber, Peral Perry, and Verna Mae Jones, as well as, other innumerable friends along with a host of other relatives, the Mt. Morriah Baptist Church family and her classmates of 1975.
Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home.
A service in honor of her life will be shared at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at St. Paul AME Church, with Bishop Michael L. Mitchell, officiating, and Rev. T. W. Scott, pastor. The interment will be at Piney Grove Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Jerry Scott, Jamar Bullock, JR Newborn, Jerel Yarber, Jason Hogan and Van Newborn. Honorary pallbearers will be Jonathan Neal, Carl Todd, Eugene Christopher, Joseph Thompson, Greg Bullock, and Adrian Newborn.