Shirley Geneva Smith–Lewis was born on December 23, 1934 in Ahoskie, North Carolina; she was the oldest child to the late John Henry Smith and Adelle Boston. Her younger brother, Jeanius Boston Smith proceeded her in death.
Shirley left Ahoskie as a teenager to live with her father in West Philadelphia where she attended Sulzberger Junior High and Overbrook High schools. She continued her formal education, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Antioch University in 1983 and went on to receive a Master of Library Sciences from Villanova University in May 1985 and receiving recognition as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
Shirley was self-motivated and no stranger to hard work and often credited her courage to pursue different avenues to Dr. Harris for whom she served as a physician’s assistant. Hence, she worked as a bank teller for Berean Savings Bank, a real estate agent, and a library assistant. She then became a Librarian for the Philadelphia Public School System for 30 years during which time she received her real estate license in 1979. Shirley enjoyed the real estate industry and the challenge of purchasing and “flipping” properties. From apartment buildings in Atlantic City, New Jersey to single homes in Philadelphia, for over 25 years she would transform them into eye catching and profitable entities.
In April 1951, she entered into marriage with the late Bernard Lee Smith and welcomed her first born, Shelia Victoria Smith. In 1960, she welcomed her second daughter, June Emona Smith-Cutts and 1967, her only son, Jeffrey Jabez Smith. She later married the late Arthur D. Lewis.
Shirley was devoted to her family, always opening up her home and loving to entertain. She enjoyed the casino and in any given minute would hop in her car and go and come back a winner. She served as a Committee Woman in Philadelphia’s 200th District and served as trustee aide for Mt. Tabor Baptist Church for many years.
Shirley departed this life on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 quietly in her sleep. She leaves to cherish her memory: her daughters, Shelia Smith and June Smith-Cutts; her son, Jeffrey J. Smith (Carol Z.); grandchildren, Zenobia Roberts Harley (Rico M.), Alexandra Roberts- Jenkins (Eddie), Makeda Carey (Taurance), Bryant Cutts, Jordan Smith, Ahmad Zachary and Aliyah Zachary; great grandchildren, Aviya Roberts, Alina Roberts, Rico E. Harley, Kodilei Atwell, Laila Carey and Takiyah Carey; and her 94 year old uncle, Langston Smith. She also leaves to mourn her loss yet rejoicing in her life, a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors.
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