Our beloved Lenora Guseman Smith passed away peacefully of natural causes in her home in Houston, Texas on June 11, 2020. Lenora was born in Houston to Lena DeGeorge Guseman and Tanny Charles Guseman. As a third generation Houstonian, her parents and maternal grandparents were instrumental in the development and growth of downtown Houston early in the twentieth century. She is preceded in death by her parents, her special aunt, Rosalie DeGeorge, her adorable grandson, Michael Brooks Smith, her sister Ursula Lusk and husband Charles “Buzz” Lusk, her sister Michelene Toomey, and her loving husband of 67 years, William C. “Smitty” Smith.
Survivors include her sons William “Bill” Smith and wife Kathy, Charles Smith and wife Debbi, Michael Smith and wife Lynn, her daughters Lenora “Len” Smith and partner Teska Moreau, Ursula Graham and husband Bill, and her sister Michelene’s husband, John Toomey. Her surviving grandchildren include Shannon S. Strehli and husband Scott, Courtney S. Lippincott and husband Tom, Michelene G. Galbraith and husband Chase, Christiana S. Stojanik and husband David, Will Graham, Charles “Chase” Smith and wife Christi, Katie S. Phillippi and husband Bane, Tanny Ursula Shelburne and husband John, Kimberly S. Bell and husband Alex, Jordan Smith and wife Leslie, Sheridan S. Plumb and husband Robert, and Stephen Smith and wife Laura. Lenora is also survived by 29 adored great grandchildren.
Lenora graduated from St. Agnes Academy in Houston and National Park College in Forest Glen, Maryland, then attended The University of Texas in Austin, where she met Smitty. They married at St. Anne Catholic Church on October 30, 1943. Being members of the Greatest Generation, Lenora lived with her parents in Houston while Smitty served in WWII. Following his release from the U.S. Navy in 1946, the couple moved to Yorktown, Texas, where Smitty joined his father at Yorktown Motor Company. Smitty’s father passed away six months later, leaving the dealership to Smitty.
Life in Yorktown was busy as Lenora juggled school and community activities while raising five children. She worked with the mothers of Holy Cross School in Yorktown, helpIng to create the first PTA. She also instructed the Catholic high school students in religion class after Sunday mass. When the family returned to Houston in 1965, Lenora quickly got involved in St. Michael’s School and Catholic Church. She was active in the Charity Guild of Catholic Women and at San Jose Clinic. A devout Catholic throughout her lifetime, Lenora was a member of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Forever kind, generous and polite, Lenora’s manner was a special blend of southern grace, sound bearing and keen business sense. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. Perhaps her grandchildren said it best in this composite of their tributes on her 90th birthday: “MawMaw can only be described as the ultimate matriarch. She had amazing energy, respect and love for each one of us...I will always try to honor her in everything I do and will instill her strong values, faith and unconditional love in my children...My greatest memories are of waking up to the smell of pancakes and all of our uniforms pressed, our lunches neatly folded with our names on the front...We were asked in the fifth grade to write a paper about our hero, the person we most admired. I chose MawMaw and twenty years later I still answer the question in the exact same way...I was the only kid I knew who had a grandmother who could wear a leather skirt and get away with it...We loved being with MawMaw and PawPaw who spent so much time at Lakeway...There was a time when MawMaw knew the name of every Longhorn football player, and she even called the plays...You are one of the most selfless people I know, which is so rare...The thing that comes to mind when I think of MawMaw is the way she makes me feel when I am with her. It didn’t matter what you talked about, she listened and made you feel as though you were the smartest and wittiest person. I watched her with the great grandchildren and she pays that much attention to all of us...You are a beautiful person inside and out and we love you more than you will ever know...I attempt to depict the love that you have shown. I speak of not a seed, but a tree, full grown. Pretty as a cypress that feeds from the bank. Strong as an oak, to be quite frank.”
And now, the family is comforted to know that MawMaw is taking Little Michael’s hand as he welcomes his beloved grandmother home with open arms.
The family wishes to thank the caregivers from Home Instead Senior Care and XEN Home Care who lovingly assisted Lenora. Special thanks are given to Guadelupe Porras and her sister Rosa for their compassionate care. They would also like to thank the staff from Houston Hospice for their care and guidance. The family is very grateful to Patricia Arias for her decades of loyal and dependable service provided to Lenora and her family.
The family gathered for a private Rosary and Mass of Christian Burial at St. Anne Catholic Church followed by a private Rite of Committal at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery under the direction of Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family respectfully suggests that prayers be said for mindfulness in all our relationships with a goal toward healing our nation.