Mary Louise Hunt Smethurst, 92, passed into eternal life on April 2, 2020. Mary Lou was a woman of strong convictions and a tender heart. She was dearly loved by and deeply invested in her large family. Mary Lou had an unwavering faith in the Lord and an enviable strength. She was a true “steel magnolia.”
She shared a rich life of 67 years with her beloved husband, Benjamin McKinley Smethurst, Jr., who predeceased her in 2017. Her parents and cherished younger brother Richard Howard Hunt, Jr. also predeceased her.
Mary Lou is survived by her five devoted children: Rick (Suzi) Smethurst, Susan (Walt) Stillman, Doug (Lynda) Smethurst, Joan (Scot) Henderson, and Jeff (Rachel) Smethurst.
She was over the moon with seventeen grandchildren, whose various personalities and interests she loved and supported. They include: John (Jen) Smethurst, Matt (Maghan) Smethurst, Katherine (Kevin) Miller, Chelsea (Matt) Bieber, Christy Smethurst, Laura (Seth) Zimmerman, Caleb (Cate) Henderson, Kyle (Christie) Smethurst, Sarah Smethurst, Casey Henderson, Rebecca (Matt) Berlin, Ellen (Tim) Hilliard, Emily (Bryan) Spears, Scott Smethurst, David Smethurst, and Jacob Smethurst.
Mary Lou delighted in her seventeen great-grandchildren: Colin, Shire, Mason, Norah, Quinn, Juliet, Evelyn, Annie, Hazel, Skylar, Renna, Benjamin, Micah, Rylee, Laelah, Huntleigh, and Cecilia.
She also leaves to cherish her memory her faithful sister, Joan Hunt Smith, along with nieces Mary Duke (Philippe Varlet) Smith and Caryn Hunt, as well as nephew Mark Hunt.
Mary Lou was born on June 24, 1927 in Miami, FL to the Hon. Richard Howard Hunt and Eloise Phillips Hunt. The oldest of three, she graduated from Ponce de Leon High School where she met the love of her life. She went on to earn a degree in psychology from the University of Miami in 1949. In June 1950 she and Ben married, beginning their lifelong adventure together. As their family grew, Mary Lou deftly handled moves from Arlington, VA to Pittsburgh, PA and to Hartford, CT before settling in Northern Virginia’s North Springfield community for over thirty years. They retired to Williamsburg, VA in 1992. Though their address changed from time to time, their home was always a popular place of generous hospitality and memories cherished by family and friends alike.
Mary Lou was an artistic person whose love of music endured throughout her life. Proficient in piano and with a lovely soprano voice, she filled their home with beautiful sound. In her forties, she learned the guitar and joined “The Guitar Playing Housewives,” playing to church and civic groups all over Northern Virginia. Mary Lou also had deep roots in volunteering and gave herself generously to many causes, including those in physical need, the mental health community, and hospital patients. Her passion for learning was remarkable. She loved nature and found great joy in observing wildlife. As the matriarch of her ever-growing family, Mary Lou demonstrated powerful love and keen wisdom. Her influence will be felt for generations.
A Celebration of Life Service for this remarkable woman will be held in Northern Virginia at a later date.