FREDERICKTOWN — Wanza L. Smith, 97, died at home on July 4, 2019. Her daughter, Deborah Scott, provided extraordinary care and love which enabled her to remain at home.

She was born at home in Knox County Oct. 26, 1921, to the late Edward and Grace (Ruhl) Burson. Her early education began at Cooke School—a one room schoolhouse in Middlebury Township. She was a 1939 graduate of Fredericktown High School.

Wanza married Paul H. Smith Feb. 14, 1942 in Marion. They farmed in Knox County until he began studies to become a minister. They served churches in Ohio and Kentucky before they moved to the Cayman Islands as missionaries in the mid-1950s. They served 15 years on Grand Cayman Island before returning to Ohio permanently in 1973.

She taught in Sunday Schools and trained youth at Christian Service camps in Ohio and Jamaica. Wanza shared her homemaking expertise and knowledge of raising children with many young families wherever she lived. Dozens of children called her Grandma Wanza. In their later years Paul and Wanza made several mission trips to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. They enjoyed more travel in the United States, Israel and the Caribbean.

After Paul’s death in 1996, Wanza became a devoted hospice volunteer, comforting families as she had been comforted. When she moved to Mount Vernon she became a faithful member of Messiah Church.

She was witty, clever, a fierce Scrabble player, a punster, skilled homemaker, lover of people and lover of God. Her handwritten letters to friends and family are memorable treasures. This farm girl turned world traveler impacted thousands of lives in her 97 years on earth; she leaves a remarkable legacy of faithfulness.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Paul, Vaughn, Frank and Neil Burson and sister, Lois Welch; sons-in-law, John Scott and Joe Blevins. Her great-great-granddaughter, Presley Jones, died in infancy.

Her six children continue her legacy: Judy Hinten of Westerville; Ronald Smith of Milton, FL; Rachel Blevins of Fredericktown; Rebecca (Bill) Christman of Bonners Ferry, ID; Deborah Scott of Mount Vernon and Lisa (Richard) Hall of Milton, FL.

Twelve grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren cherish the memories of their godly, fun-loving grandmother.

She is also survived by her sister, Marjorie Frey of Wenatchee, WA; sister-in-law, Beverly Burson of Brandon, FL; and many nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at the New Life Community Church, 9955 Mount Gilead Road, Fredericktown where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, with Pastors Desmond Cole and Bill Christman officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Casa Shalom Ministries, P.O. Box 810, Warrenton, VA 20188.

To share a memory or send the family an expression of sympathy visit

The Snyder Funeral Home in Fredericktown is honored to serve the family of Wanza L. Smith.


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