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Frances Marie “Frankie” Davidson Smith was born on May 20th, 1941 in Fayetteville Arkansas. She spent her early years in the Ozark Mountain town of Winslow, close to her beloved grandmother, Mimi. When her family moved to Fayetteville, she continued to spend her summers with Mimi, walking the train tracks and exploring the mountains. Although Frankie came from a long line of strong women, her family wasn’t sure how to handle a young girl with an iron clad will and a direct way of expressing it. Despite her mother’s constant tutelage, Frankie never conformed to the expectations of a good southern woman. She knew who she was, what she wanted, and she wasn’t afraid to express her opinions or be herself. Frankie’s father was the service manager of an Oldsmobile dealership so Frankie grew up around cars. She LOVED to drive. When she was in high school, she would drag race with the boys on the mountain roads, so much that her lead footed tendencies would grant her the family nickname “Speed Racer”. In recent years she enjoyed taking day drives in the rural Virginia country side with friends. When she graduated high school, Frankie attended the University of Arkansas for 2 years while she worked on getting her MRS. It was there she met the love of her life, Larry Smith. He proposed by saying “marry me and I’ll take you away from here.” She responded with “Is tonight too soon?” They married, moved to San Burnadino, CA and started a family.
They moved several times before landing in Northern Virginia and everywhere she lived, she made good friends and left every community better through volunteer work. Her legacy is SERVICE. She loved helping people. While her children were in school, she volunteered in the classrooms, with the band parents, and created a high school career center where she helped many students figure out their next step in life. While most parents just survive their children’s adolescence, Frankie embraced it. She was the adopted mom for many of her children’s friends. They would come over, sit in the kitchen and just talk to her. She was a great listener and offered sage advice when needed.
She worked several jobs over the years to earn extra money and step away from home chores and chaos, but once the nest was empty, she created her first career by taking her love of helping people into real estate. It was in real estate that she met some amazing people that would help her through the biggest change of her life. Frankie became a widow at the young age of 49. After her husband’s death, it would have been easy (and understandable) to put off starting such a challenging new path, but her indomitable will kicked in and she started classes 8 months later at Mary Washington College to complete the college degree that she began 20 years earlier. When most new widows would succumb to their world shattering, she graduated in 4 years with her BLS at the age of 54. After graduation, she began volunteering at Haven of Northern Virginia, an all-volunteer bereavement support program. That’s where she found her passion. She loved supporting people through the grief process. She served in every leadership position at Haven, including the director.
In 2011 Frankie moved to Fredericksburg to be closer to family, especially her beloved granddaughter, Emma. During the last 11 years she found her place in her new community, attending community gatherings, making great friends, learning (and loving) to play Mahjong, enjoying frequent day trips to nearby small towns, spending time with her family, and supporting her granddaughter’s activities and love of horses. Frankie was her own woman. She had a great sense of humor, strong opinions (that she shared freely), a love of deep, wide ranging conversations, a compassionate heart, warm hugs, a “mom look” that could stop misbehaving children in their tracks and make grown adults step back, and a momma bear protectiveness of her family.
Unfortunately Frankie’s body could no longer comply with her strong will to live and she died on February 3, 2022 surrounded by her family. She is survived by her son, Maurice Smith (Teresa); her daughter, Melanie Yost (Brian); and her granddaughter, Emma. While her family is heartbroken, they take comfort in knowing she is reunited with her husband, Larry Smith; her grandmother, Maude Frances Smith (Mimi); her parents, Ted and Helen Davidson; her brother, James Davidson; and all of her furry family members, Lady, Jamie, Abbey, Maggie, and Bella.
A memorial service will be held at 3pm on Monday, February 7, 2022 at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg. The family requests that everyone who attends wear a mask. The service will be live-streamed for those who want to pay respects but are not comfortable attending the service in person.
Frankie gave generously to many charitable organizations. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you continue her legacy of service by donating to Haven of Northern Virginia, Serenity Farm Equine Sanctuary in Louisa VA, Hazelwild Farm Educational Foundation in Fredericksburg VA, or a charity of your choice in her name.