Cornelia Elizabeth Norton Smith, 80, a cherished member of the Wrens community, peacefully entered into her eternal rest on January 14, 2024, at her home. The services honoring Cornelia's beautiful life will be held at James Funeral Home with visitation being held on January 18, 2024, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. A funeral service to celebrate Cornelia's life will immediately follow at 1:00 pm in the James Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Ron Dixon and Dr. Stan Littleton officiating. The interment ceremony will be held at Wrens Memorial Gardens following the funeral service.
Born to the late Beulah Arrington Norton and the late Frank Norton on February 19, 1943, Cornelia lived a life filled with love, devotion, and unwavering faith. She was a lifelong resident of the Wrens area and graduated from Wrens High School in 1961. After completing her education, Cornelia dedicated herself to various endeavors that showcased her immense strength and resilience. Initially, she worked at Fort Gordon and later embraced the role of a loving homemaker after marrying her childhood sweetheart in November 1967.
While raising her children, Cornelia also worked briefly at Maxwell's before prioritizing the needs of her family and ensuring her home was a nurturing, safe haven for all who entered. She poured love and dedication into every aspect of her life.
One of Cornelia's defining traits was her remarkable work ethic. She displayed an industrious nature and could often be seen operating her beloved John Deere tractor until it became unfeasible to do so. The joy she derived from being outdoors was immeasurable, further exemplified by her love for horses and enjoying trail rides. Cornelia also enjoyed “lake time” with family and friends for many years as part of the North Jefferson Campers Club at Clarks Hill.
Cornelia possessed an indomitable personality that left a lasting impression on all who knew her. Her larger-than-life presence brightened every room she entered and her spunky and feisty nature added vibrancy to any gathering. She approached life with determination and an unwavering spirit—her spirit persevered through every challenge that came her way.
Among Cornelia's many passions in life was her adoration for Elvis Presley. A dedicated fan of "The King," she delighted in listening to his music, finding solace and joy in his timeless melodies. She transitioned out of this world while listening to the sounds of Elvis’ crooning.
Cornelia's strong faith was a guiding force throughout her life. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior as a teenager and served as a member of Mt. Horeb Baptist Church and, then for the past 20+ years, she found immense joy and spiritual fulfillment at Wrens Christian Fellowship Church (formerly Wrens United Methodist Church). During one of her final days, she could be heard reciting the 23rd Psalm, giving peace and comfort to those around her.
Cornelia leaves behind a legacy of love and cherished memories that will forever be treasured by her loved ones. She is survived by her loving husband, Wayne Smith, who stood beside her through thick and thin. Together, they built a life filled with love, laughter, and support. She will be deeply missed by her children, Tammie Smith-Walker (Joe) and Michael W. Smith (Jenny), whose lives were profoundly impacted by their mother's unwavering love and guidance and are left with many wonderful stories and cherished memories. Cornelia leaves behind cherished grandchildren, Riley Smith and Garrett Smith, who brought immense joy and pride into her life. The “granddaughter of her heart”, Ansley Walker, held a special, cherished place within her heart. Her memory will be kept alive by her brothers, Billy Norton (Shirley) and Jimmy Norton (Melanie), who shared many precious moments with their sister. She is also survived by nieces, nephews, other extended family members, church family, and an extensive circle of friends whose lives she profoundly touched. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her nephew, Jeff Rabun, who she adored. Those honored to be her pallbearers include Daniel Bazemore, Craig Norton, Douglas Norton, Ronald Norton, Mike Otis and Larry Rhodes. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be her beloved Griswold Sunday School Class.
Cornelia’s departure from this world has left a void that can never be filled, but solace is found in the memories she has gifted us and the enduring impact of her love, resilience and indomitable spirit.