Helen Ruth Holsclaw Smith, 94, of Corbin, KY formerly of Harlan, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on February 17, 2023. Born in Lothair, KY on June 6, 1928, she was the second of three children to the late William Taylor Holsclaw & Ora Mae Hagie Holsclaw.
In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by the love of her life, her husband of 43 years, Cawood Smith, two brothers, Albert Taylor Holsclaw & Dr. Roy Holsclaw.
She is survived by her son, Gregg Smith & wife Sherrie of Nicholasville, KY, daughter, Lisa Cleary & husband Kim of Corbin, KY, grandchildren, Ryan Cleary & wife Laura, Laura Cleary, Hannah McKenzie & husband Cato, Ashley Cone & husband Andrew, Sarah Nelson & husband August, six great grandchildren, Caroline, Catherine, & George Cleary, Everett, Fletcher, & Emelia McKenzie, and baby Nelson. As well as many special nieces, nephews, family & friends. She is also survived by two special caregivers, Kristy Fields & Darlene Alsip.
Helen attended Eastern Kentucky University and graduated from The Laboratory Technology School in Louisville, KY. After graduation, she set up the Medical Laboratory for a new hospital in Hazard, KY. After marrying her husband and moving to Harlan, she worked with a private physician doing everything from x-rays to blood transfusions, to nursing care. When she had her first child, she began to do bookkeeping for her husband’s law practice which enabled her to be at home with her children. Helen’s passion was loving and serving people as Christ would. Whether it was her family, a new acquaintance, a stranger, or a longtime friend. She was known as the neighborhood mom and as a person whose home was always open. She served her Church and her Lord as a longtime Sunday School teacher, VBS instructor, WMU Leader, as well as serving on various committees.
Helen served her community as well by being an active member of the first Hospice of the Bluegrass Board in Harlan County. Believing that all deserve access to secondary education, she served as both chairperson of Southeast Community College Board of Directors and the Southeast Education Foundation for many years. When she and her husband moved to Lexington after he retired, she became an active member of the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors and volunteered with her husband with Meals on Wheels with their church.
Helen was a longtime active member of the Mountain Laurel Festival Board of Directors and was a UK Fellow. She was a wonderful mother, extraordinary grandmother, and a faithful, devoted friend. She had many “adopted” children & grandchildren who considered her a second mom & grandma. Many came to her for her wisdom and her compassionate heart who would listen and love without judgement.
She loved her God, her family, and the people that the Lord placed in her path each day. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.
Her visitation will occur from 1030AM til 12 noon at the Harlan Baptist Church in Harlan, KY on February 25, 2023, with the Celebration of Life service to follow at noon with Pastor Steve Drury officiating. Burial will follow the service at the Resthaven Cemetery in Keith, KY. Pallbearers will be Dr. Ryan Cleary, Major Cato McKenzie, Dr. Andrew Cone, August Nelson, Stanley Holsclaw, David Holsclaw, Jerry Michael Holsclaw, and Steve Holsclaw.
If so desired, in lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to the Harlan Baptist Church at 102 W. Mound St. Harlan, KY 40831, or Trinity Hill Methodist Church 3600 Tates Creek, Rd Lexington, KY 40517.
On behalf of the staff of the Henson & Rich Funeral Home we would like to offer our heartfelt sympathy to the family during their time of bereavement.
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