Frances Marie “Frankie” Davidson Smith was born on May 20, 1941 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She spent her early years in the Ozark Mountain town of Winslow, near her beloved grandmother Mimi. When her family moved to Fayetteville, she continued to spend summers with Mimi, walking on train tracks and exploring the mountains. Although Frankie came from a long line of strong women, her family wasn’t sure how to treat a young girl with iron-clad will and a straightforward way to express it. Despite her mother’s constant guardianship, Frankie never met the expectations of a good Southern woman. She knew who she was, what she wanted, and was not afraid to express her opinions or be herself. Frankie’s father was a service manager at an Oldsmobile dealership so Frankie grew up around cars. She loved to drive. When she was in high school, she raced with boys on mountain roads, so much so that her strong inclinations would give her the family nickname “speed racer”. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed taking day trips into the Virginia countryside with friends. When she graduated from high school, Frankie attended the University of Arkansas for two years while working on her MRS. It was there that she met the love of her life, Larry Smith. “Marry me and I’ll take you from here,” he suggested. She replied, “Is tonight too early?” They married, moved to San Bornadino, California and started a family.
They moved many times before landing in Northern Virginia and everywhere she lives, she made good friends and left every community better through volunteer work. Her legacy is a service. She loved helping people. While her children were in school, she volunteered in classes, with the band’s parents, and set up a career center in high school where she helped several students figure out their next step in life. While most parents live into their teens for their children, Frankie has embraced it. She was the adoptive mother of many of her children’s friends. They would come and sit in the kitchen and just talk to her. She was a great listener and gave sage advice when needed.
She worked several jobs over the years to earn extra money and get away from housework and clutter, but once the nest was empty, she created her first career out of her love of helping people with real estate. In the real estate business, she has met some wonderful people who will help her through the biggest change of her life. Frankie became a widow at the age of forty-nine. After her husband’s death, it was easy (and understandably) to put off starting such a challenging new path, but her indomitable work would begin and she began studying 8 months later at Mary Washington College to complete the undergraduate degree she had started 20 years ago. When most new widows succumb to their world shattering, she graduated in 4 years with a BLS at age 54. After graduation, she began volunteering at Haven of Northern Virginia, a bereavement support volunteer program. This is where she found her passion. She loved supporting people through the grieving process. She has served in every leadership position at Haven, including director.
In 2011, Frankie moved to Fredericksburg to be closer to the family, especially her beloved granddaughter Emma. Over the past 11 years, she has 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. Activities and love of horses. Frankie was her own woman. She had a sense of humor, strong opinions (which she freely shared), a love of deep and wide conversations, a compassionate heart, warm hugs, and a “mother’s look” that could stop child abuse in their tracks and make adults a step back, and a mother who would bear the protection of her family.
Unfortunately, Frankie’s body no longer matches 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 members are heartbroken, they are relieved to know that she is reunited with her husband Larry Smith; her grandmother, Maud Francis Smith (Mimi); her parents, Ted and Helen Davidson; Her brother is James Davidson. And all her furry family members, Lady, Jimmy, Abby, Maggie, and Bella.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, February 7, 2022 at Covenant Funeral, Fredericksburg. The family asks everyone who attends to wear a mask. The service will be broadcast live for those who wish to express respect but are uncomfortable attending the service in person.
Frankie has donated generously to many charitable organizations. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking you to continue its legacy of service by making a donation to The Haven Foundation in Northern Virginia, Serenity Farm Equestrian Sanctuary in Louisa Virginia, Hazelwild Farm Education Foundation in Fredericksburg Virginia, or a charitable organization of your choice in their name.