Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Claire Marie Smith, 76, Orange

Claire Marie Smith, 76, of Orange, Texas, passed away on April 22, 2023, in Beaumont, Texas. A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, April 28, 2023, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Orange. Officiating will be Reverend Keith Giblin. Inurnment will follow at the Memorial Garden of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

A gathering of family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.

Born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, on March 3, 1946, she was the daughter of Ben H. Rhoads, Sr. and Edith L. (Landon) Rhoads. Claire was a devoted member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Orange where she was involved in the choir, the Altar Guild, and served many years as a Sunday School Teacher.

She was the epitome of a true giver. Claire was the first president of the Orange County Rainbow Room, providing necessities like diapers, wipes, and clothing to children in need; as well as serving as a past president of the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood, providing educational opportunities for female students worldwide. She even spent time volunteering her help to her husband, Bill Smith “The Corndog King”, with the Lion’s Club Charity Carnival in Orange. Claire’s first venture into the work force was at the local Dairy Queen that her parents owned, before going on to work for the West Orange school district, retiring as the Superintendent Secretary after 23 loyal years.

She had a passion for needlework, cooking and baking, even opening her own restaurant in Orange called “The Breadbox”. Claire enjoyed being a member of the Orange Gun Club growing up, gardening in her yard, and traveling the world with her husband- their most recent adventure being England, Scotland, and Ireland with long time friends Scotty and Karen Jackson. She always had a smile on her face, and you couldn’t help but leave any conversation with her with a smile on your own. S

he was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She adored her grandchildren. Hearts are broken without her, but her memory lives on with each life she touched.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Ben H. Rhoads, Sr. and Edith L. Rhoads; nephew, Ben Rhoads; and sisters-in-law, Susan Rhoads and Jan Rhoads.

Those left to cherish Claire’s memory include her loving husband of 54 years, Bill Smith; children, Chris Smith and wife Jennifer, of Orange, Jamison Smith and wife April, of Austin, and Jeff Smith and wife Elizabeth, of The Woodlands; grandchildren, Bayleigh Smith Piat, Shelby Smith, Dylan Smith, Grayson Smith, and Josh Watkins and wife Courtney; great-grandchildren, Parker, London, and Leighton Watkins; siblings, Ben H. Rhoads, Jr. and wife Lillie, of Orange and Bart W. Rhoads, of Gist; nephew, Andrew Rhoads; niece, Courtney Alcott and husband Sean; and furbaby, Theo; along with numerous other loving family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 1401 W. Park Ave. Orange, TX 77630 or the Humane Society of Orange.


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