Bernice Benn Smith-Maloney

Published 6:17 pm Monday, March 16, 2015

Bernice Benn Smith-Maloney departed this life on March 11, 2015.



She was the youngest daughter of the late Mack Sr. and Mamie Scott Benn, of Suffolk and Southampton County. Born in Southampton County, she grew up in Suffolk the youngest girl and the next to last of seven. She attended and completed her early education in Suffolk, and she was the valedictorian of the East Suffolk High School, class of 1942. She then received her Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia State University (College in Ettrick) in June 1946. Bernice completed her formal education by receiving her Master of Science degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Indiana-Bloomington in 1964.

Bernice taught and served with the Suffolk Public School system for more than 40 years, retiring as middle school guidance counselor at Southwestern Middle School in 1985.

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She was formerly a member of St. Timothy Independent Methodist Church, where she served as Youth Director, Sunday School teacher, and church clerk for many years. In the early 1980s she joined her siblings at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Suffolk, where she was a member until her passing. At St. Mark’s, she served as financial secretary of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW), Church School secretary/treasurer, treasurer of 4th Convocation of Episcopal Church Women, and served faithfully on the vestry.

Bernice was a charter member of the “Deeces” Pinochle Social Club, a member of the Imperial Crescent Club, and served as Chairperson of the Miss Christmas Seal Contest for the American Cancer Society in Suffolk for a number of years.

She was a member of the Suffolk Retired Teachers Association, the State Teacher’s Association and the National Teacher’s Association.

Bernice was predeceased by four brothers, Herman T., Wesley Sr., Winfred and Mack Jr., and one sister Wanetah. She is survived by her son, Edward U. “Pete” Smith Jr.; one sister, Mrs. Dorothy B. Armistead, both of Suffolk; one grandchild, Michele R. Daniels, of Richmond, one great-grandchild, Mya; one stepdaughter, Clarissa Maloney, last of Oklahoma City, and two sisters-in-law, Marian (Herman), of Suffolk, and Elaine B. Benn (Mack Jr.) of Sun City, Az.; seven nieces and nephews, numerous great-nieces and -nephews and many, many other family members and friends.

A memorial service will be held at the St. James’ Episcopal Church at 928 Effingham St. in Portsmouth on March 18, 2015, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Canon Fredrick Walker, Rector, St. James’ and St. Mark’s Episcopal churches, in charge. As per her wishes, Bernice’s remains were cremated, and there will be a private family entombment at a later time in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens. Please join the family for a light repast after the service. Professional services with dignity have been entrusted to Crocker Funeral Home Inc. Condolences may be extended to the family at www.crockerfuneralhomecom.