Sylvia Stroud Smith


Sylvia Stroud Smith died in Winston-Salem, NC, on September 12th, 2021, after a life filled with travel, adventure, love, friendship and music. Born at home in Calahaln Township, Davie County, North Carolina, on April 6, 1939, she was the oldest child of Wade Burdette Stroud and Beulah Mae York Stroud. She graduated from Davie County High School in May, 1957, a member of the first graduating class. On June 1, 1957, she married Jerry Julian Smith, her high school sweetheart, moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they lived while he finished his degree at the University of North Carolina. Upon graduation, Jerry received his commission with the U.S. Air Force, and the couple embarked upon a great adventure, living at Malden AFB, Missouri; Laredo AFB, Texas; Castle AFB, Merced, California; Kelly Field AFB, San Antonio, Texas; MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida; Dow AFB, Bangor, Maine; Pease AFB, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas; Otis AFB on Cape Cod in Massachusetts; Salisbury, North Carolina (while Jerry was stationed at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Bangkok, Thailand), RAF South Cerney, Gloucestershire, England (while Jerry was stationed at RAF Fairford, and later RAF Lyneham); and Langley AFB, Hampton, Virginia. In each new location, Sylvia excelled at creating a new home and making new friends. The couple had two daughters, Sylvia Sonjia Smith and Eugenia ("Jenny") Lynn Smith Cline. After Jenny started first grade, Sylvia began her pursuit of a college degree, taking courses at McMurry College (Abilene, Texas), Catawba College (Salisbury, North Carolina), and Swindon College (Swindon, Wiltshire, England) before graduating in 1975 from Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary (Newport News, Virginia), having earned a Bachelor of Arts in History. Sylvia was an accomplished historian and delved deeply into family genealogy, delighting in providing detailed records for her grandchildren and other family members.

Her travels continued after she and Jerry divorced in 1974. She moved back to North Carolina in 1977 to be with family. In 1982 she moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and in 1986, to Boston, Massachusetts, before finally returning home to North Carolina for good in 1994.

Sylvia was an accomplished musician. She learned the piano as a child, and by high school she was the church pianist at Clarksbury Methodist Church in Iredell County, in addition to serving as the accompanist for a gospel quartet, her high school glee club, and the Raver School of Dance in Mocksville. As an adult, she performed frequently with her daughter Jenny, a professional flutist. In her forties, she became an organist, playing for many churches in Massachusetts and North Carolina as a regular or substitute organist, earning the American Guild of Organists Service Playing Certificate in 1990. In her fifties, she realized a long-held dream and began playing the harp, continuing her harp studies right up until her death. In a description of her life, Sylvia wrote, "Musical blessings have poured on me. Music is a gift, and a joy to study and share."

She was preceded in death by her parents; and by her younger brother, Jerry Wayne Stroud, Sr. She is survived by her daughters, Sonjia (married to Michael D. Bills) and Jenny (married to Dr. John F. Cline), by her seven grandchildren: Steven Henry, Brian Walter, Kendall Jennifer, and Cameron Stroud Bills; and Dr. Brendan Matthew, Devin William, and Kieran Julian Cline; her sisters, Linda Stroud Carter and Brenda Stroud Gregory; her brother, Sydney ("Sonny") Burdette Stroud; by six nephews, Ken and Brad Stroud, David, Dennis and Jeff Carter, Jerry Wayne Stroud, Jr.; and four nieces, Lori Carter Gunther, Jackie Messick Hepler, Lisa Gregory Shoaf, and Melissa Stroud Ballsieper, and their families.

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