Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1521 Athens, GA 30603
The family is receiving friends at the residence.
Click on the link "Service Details" for funeral arrangements.
Cornelia B. (Key) Smith was born in Cincinnati, OH, to the late Thomas and Mattie Key.
Cornelia joined Browns Chapel Baptist Church at an early age and was also a member of Deliverance Baptist Church in Tacoma, WA.
She and her family lived in Watkinsville, GA, and then moved to Athens, GA where she spent the majority of her childhood. After graduating from Athens High and Industrial School, Athens, GA, Cornelia pursued higher education at Savannah State College. In October 1963, she enlisted in the United States Air Force, and served as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for four years at Ent AFB in Colorado Springs, CO. She married Staff Sergeant McArthur Smith in 1966 and, upon leaving the military in 1967, she and her family lived in many places including Germany, Oklahoma and Washington state. Cornelia and her family ultimately settled in the Tacoma, WA area. After a lengthy career in sales, Cornelia admirably pursued a career change and earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Southern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Pacific Lutheran University. She then went on to teach high school English & Language Arts for almost 10 years. After retirement, Cornelia moved back home to Athens in 2011.
Cornelia held many leadership positions in social, charitable & religious organizations over the years. She enjoyed reading, interior design, playing the piano, relaxing weekend getaways at her favorite resort on the Pacific Ocean, and spending quality time and laughing with her loving family and friends.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, James Key.
She is survived by two sons, Stephen Smith and wife, Kristan of Spanaway, WA; Jason Smith of Seattle, WA; one daughter, Rhianne Brightwell and husband Demario of Athens, GA; twelve grandchildren (Symone Smith, Alona Smith, Camille Smith, Gabrielle Smith, Josiah Smith and Kerah Smith of Spanaway, WA, and Demario Brightwell Jr., Sha’niya Brightwell, Julianna Brightwell, Jordan Brightwell, Jayden Brightwell & Jaylen Brightwell of Athens, GA) and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends from all over the world.