Ester Virginia Benedict Smart

April 7, 1930 - February 12, 2022

Ester Virginia Benedict Smart was born on April 7, 1930, and passed away Saturday February 12, 2022.

She grew up in Crockett, Texas, and later met the love of her life, Donald Smart in Beaumont, Texas, while living at the YMCA to attend Secretarial School. A sweet gesture of an offered ride home would later create a happy marriage, 4 beautiful daughters, a thriving family business, and a legacy of grandchildren.  Virginia loved her home church of First Baptist Church of Nome almost as much as she loved her family and was a happy and proud member for more than 65 years.  She passed on her love of Jesus to her daughters as well as to her grandchildren and would always quote an applicable Bible verse when you went to her with a worry or problem.

Besides loving her family and church, she loved antiques. She and Donnie would take vacations to search for a specific bowl or dish set and was happy to teach the grandkids about what the antiques were used for in her childhood; and she always brought them a souvenir from her adventures.  She loved to tell stories of her life and siblings and show them the movies and books she enjoyed growing up.  Virginia was extremely organized too. She would show you a picture and then the outfit from the picture that she still had in a trunk in a guest room. Additionally, she was so proud of her daughters. She kept their twirling and cheer outfits and some of their childhood toys to this day.  She was also blessed with a green thumb.   Her yard was beautiful, and she loved keeping it that way. Many an afternoon she could be found outside under a tree pulling weeds or planting flowers.

Virginia was a very special lady.  Not only was she an excellent wife, mother, gardener, Christian, grandmother, daughter, sister…she was also an excellent friend.  She was blessed to have some of the same friends from her newlywed days to recent years and was a great listener and advice giver and was always there for her friends and family.  And she loved to plan family events.  For Christmas, she would insist on using real silverware and dishes even if there were 50 people attending.  She wanted each event to be special and everyone to be included.  She instilled traditions and values that will surely be carried on in future generations.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Howard and Willie Benedict of Crockett, Texas; brothers, Howard Benedict, John Benedict, Albert Benedict; and sister, Elizabeth Benedict; daughter, Judy Zavala and great-granddaughter, Adalyn Thibodeaux.

She is survived by her husband of 71 years Donald Smart of China, Texas; sister, Betty Michalski and nephew, Mark Livingston of Cedar Hill, Texas; grandson, Kevin Gilmore and wife, Shannon and their children Zach and Nick; grandson, David Gilmore and wife, Marla, and their son, Dawson; Kris Gilmore and his son’s, Knox and Kason; son-in-law, Donald Zavala of Troup, Texas; daughter, Nancy Gore and husband, Alvis, of China, Texas; grandson, Donald Ferguson and wife, Arpita, and their children, Benjamin, Sammi, and Liam; grandson, Clint Ferguson and wife, Anne, and their children, Lucas and Malia; grandson, David Gore and wife, Teresa and children, Kyle and Andrew; daughter, Susan Grohn and husband, Stephen, of Beaumont, Texas; granddaughter, Stefanie Stallings and husband, Curtis, and their children, Micah, Katelyn, and Caleb; granddaughter, Sarah Smith and husband, Lane, and their children, Everett and Lincoln; granddaughter, Rebekah Grohn; daughter, Donna Thibodeaux Neves and husband, John, of Beaumont, Texas; granddaughter, Andria Frederiksen and husband, Erik, and their children, Ethan and Connor; grandson, Brandon Thibodeaux and wife, Erin, and their children, Aubrey and Grayson; grandson, Corey Thibodeaux and wife, Jade, and their son, Trace; granddaughter, Ericka Hoffpauir and husband, Levi, and children, Logan Roberts, Avalynn  and Maverick; grandson, Lane Brittain and daughter, Collins; granddaughter, Madison Neves and daughter, Scarlett Ferreira; and granddaughter, Raylea Neves.

A gathering of Mrs. Smart’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Thursday, February 17, 2022, at First Baptist Church, Nome. Her funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m., Friday, February 18, 2022, at First Baptist Church, 1985 Louisiana Street, Nome. Her interment will follow at China Cemetery, China, under the direction of Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.

Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church, 1985 Louisiana Street, Nome, Texas 77629.


Download Program

Gathering of Family and Friends

  • February 17, 2022
  • 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Funeral Service

  • February 18, 2022
  • 10:00 am


China Cemetery
  • 461, West Benoit Avenue, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,

Comments (6)

    Laura Hilton Peno says:

    My mother was her roommate at the YMCA and later at the apartment they shared with the other Virginia. When they were all married I remember going to the house to visit in Nome. My mother was Mary Ellen Hugus Hilton and she loved your mother and the years they shared friendships as youngsters on their own and later as young mothers. Sorry for your loss. Laura Peno

    Belinda Buller Lough says:

    Our sincerest condolences from the whole Landry Buller, Jr family. You are in our prayers.

    David Wharton says:

    She was a VERY kind, caring, and sweet person. Who gave back to the community thru the church with food , friendship, and an infectious smile.

    Edward Loredo says:

    Having had Donnie and Virginia as my bosses for 13 years you learn a lot about people. Virginia AKA. “Ginger” Was a truly Kind and understanding person, I remember at company Christmas Party’s she always took special pride in greeting all the employees their spouses and loved giving all the kids her special Christmas presents at that time we were all Donnie’s her family. Such an elegant and kind lady doesn’t say enough !!! Ginger you will be missed by all !
    I’m so glad we all got to visit a couple of weeks ago, and wish I had stayed longer.
    MS. Virginia, God Bless you and Rest In Peace till we all meet again. My Prayers are with you and Donnie and the kids.

    Kim Dearbonne Waller says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Mrs Smart. She was always such a kind and soft spoken person. Very friendly and sweet. And always a true lady. Y’all are in my thoughts and prayers!????????❤️❤️

    Gerry Kirkland says:

    My heart is saddened. Virginia was such a sweet loving lady and I will always remember her smile. My thoughts and prayers during these difficult days. May God give you strength.

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