Jo Allison Clary Smith
GREENVILLE - Mrs. Jo Allison Clary Smith, 77, an adored wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt and friend passed away Saturday, February 15, 2020. She is healed, whole and in her heavenly home.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held Friday, February 21 at 2:00 p.m. at St. James United Methodist Church in Greenville, N.C. The family will receive family and friends following the service in the Christian Life Ministries Center.
Jo Allison was the proud daughter of the late Wilburn Columbus and Velma Jean Wilkerson Clary. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she called North Carolina home all of her life. While attending Greensboro College, she met the love of her life, Edward C. Smith, Jr. After marrying Eddie she transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill. They celebrated 57 years of marriage this month, on February 2.
Following their marriage, Jo and Eddie lived in Lexington, NC, Eddie's hometown, for three years before moving to Greenville, NC and calling it their forever home. Jo considered her most important life's work to be supporting Eddie in every way possible and raising their son, Christopher Blake, her pride and joy.
Jo was a quiet spirit who loved loudly. She was passionate about four major pieces of her life: her faith, her family, her girlfriends the "Magnolias", and Carolina athletics. It was impossible to know Jo and be unaware of how seriously she invested in all of those aspects of her life.
Jo was an active member at St. James United Methodist Church. As her faith was deeply important to her, Jo's commitment to her church home reflected that priority. She was involved in multiple aspects of St. James, but will be most fondly remembered by her church family for her incredibly beautiful voice, which blessed their music program for many years.
She felt called to support the town she called home, especially women in need. Jo helped found and lead Women for Women's Power of the Purse that directly funds programs and organizations to offer hope and empowerment to women and children in need in Pitt County. She also served on the board of the Family Violence Center, was president of the Service League, and invested in many other local charities.
Outside of her love for Christ, Eddie and Chris were Jo's greatest loves. UNC was a close second. Together with Eddie, they made a life together supporting UNC and all who called it home. Jo sat on the Board of Visitors at UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and is past president of the UNC Library Board of Visitors. Her name can be found on the athletic facilities at UNC, reflecting the deep passion Jo had for every sport at the University, something her late father, a celebrated NCAA football referee, had instilled in her.
In addition to her beloved parents, Jo was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Chloe Smith, and her niece, Melanie Clary.
She is survived by the family she helped make whole: her husband of 57 years, Eddie Smith, Jr.; her son, Chris Smith, and his wife, Ann, of Chapel Hill; her adored grandchildren, Gracie, Sudie (Evin), Anna Kate, Blake and Maggie; her sister, whom she called "exceptional," Jean Hussey of Indian Wells, California; her brothers Bo Clary (Linda) and Jud Clary (Karen), both of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; sister-in-law Lynda Swann (Michael); and many special nieces and nephews, Lanier Swann Hodgson (Scott), Parker Swann Wilson (Thomas), Kristie Elliott (Bryan), Allison Clary, Megan Clary Martinez (Arturo), Thomas Clary, and their children.
The Smith family would like to thank each and every loved one who has walked alongside them through Jo's journey, especially Donald Howard, Beverley Wheeler, Pamela Mayo, Brenda Brown, Shelia Brown, Edna Williams-Hayes, Bessie Banks, Destiny Spruill, Kaitlyn Stephens, Vanessa Moore, Bonnie Sherrod, Pamala Stancil, Brenda Jenkins, Brionda Rivera, Vanessa Wiggins, Julia Case, Cameron Boltes and Jane Bailey.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jo's memory to St. James United Methodist Church's music ministry (2000 E 6th St, Greenville, NC 27858) or the Jo Allison and Edward C. Smith Jr. Innovation Fund for Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology at UNC Hospitals (UNC Health Foundation, 124 W. Franklin Street, Suite 510, Chapel Hill, NC 27516).
Arrangements by Wilkerson Funeral Home. Online condolences at www.WilkersonFuneralHome.com.