Irene Duke Smith

Published 10:00 pm Monday, February 26, 2018

Irene Duke Smith, 93, went to be with the Lord at her home surrounded by her beloved and faithful family. She was born in Nansemond County, the daughter of the late Henretta Turner and William Elisha Duke. Mrs. Smith married the love of her life, David “Duke” Barnes Smith Jr., at 17 years old, and they were together for 71½ years before he passed away in 2014. After they were married, they lived in Norfolk, where she taught herself how to paint photographs. She was an excellent artist and photograph colorist. Over the years, she worked for Hamblin Studios in Suffolk, O’Neal’s Studio, Bob Fishbeck’s studio in Norfolk, and spent many years working exclusively for McIntosh Studios in Norfolk. She founded the Virginia Color Artist’s Association and was a member of the Virginia Professional Photographer’s Association for many years. She was the first non-photographer to achieve the Associate Fellow Photographer Degree and the Fellow Photographer Degree.

Mrs. Smith was a member of Liberty Spring Christian Church, where she went from birth to 17 years old when she moved away. She was a founding member of Bayside Christian Church in Virginia Beach. In 1973, she returned to Suffolk and resumed attending Liberty Spring Christian Church, where she has held numerous positions within the church over the years. They include positions with the Finance Board, Official Board, Deacons, Women’s Fellowship and Board of Christian Education. She was a Sunday school teacher and adult choir member, led the children’s choir, the youth choir and led the youth group over the years. She received the honor of Deacon Emeritus in December and was so proud of that honor.

Mrs. Smith is survived by her daughters, Barbara Holland and husband, Thomas, Carol A. White, all of Suffolk; granddaughter, Michele Fowler and husband, Paul; grandson, Sean Kerlee and wife, Tracy; great-grandchildren, Payton and Lincoln Kerlee; step-grandson, Bryan Holland and wife, Ellie; step-great-grandchildren, Bryce and Grayson Holland; sister-in-law, Magdaline Smith, of Norfolk; a special nephew, Mark Dale and his wife, Christine; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and her loving friend and companion, Peggy Cross.


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A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Liberty Spring Christian Church with the Revs. Allen Lancaster and Chris Surber officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Friends may join the family for a time of visitation from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Parr Funeral Home and Crematory and other times at the residence. Memorial donations may be made to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital at 950 West Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605. Condolences may be registered online at