Mary Mitchell Perry Smith


Mary went to be with her Lord on May 15th, 2020, surrounded by her loving family and friends. She persevered with grace, dignity, and inspiration in her long battle with metastatic breast cancer.

Mary has inspired many in her lifetime. This is evident in the relationships that she has built and maintained wherever she lived, traveled, and worked. Her ability to listen to others while making them feel that they had her complete attention helped them see things from other perspectives. This gift drew people to her. Mary’s wisdom was sought after and her ability to make conversation in any situation was a benefit to all who came into her circle. As Mary has said “sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”.

She made others feel good. Mary was not reluctant to give credit where credit was due, to see the positive in all situations, and to find something kind or complimentary to say to someone. This was often something she would do to total strangers wherever she went. People were drawn to her positive energy and light. People were Mary’s pleasure.

Even during her battle with cancer, Mary found the positive in her situation. She felt that God had put her in places that she would not have had access to, had she not had cancer. She touched many lives at Moffit Cancer Center. She looked forward to seeing people while undergoing treatment. She would make a connection with fellow patients, some became friends, and others just needed to share their thoughts, and/or needed to pray with another soul. Doctors and staff were amazed at how Mary saw her setbacks and victories as all part of God’s plan and in His time.

Mary was graced during her journey. She talked about becoming a better person. She appreciated these sage words that she took to heart: “Apologizing doesn’t always mean you are wrong and the other person is right. It means you value your relationship more than your ego”. ~Howard Farran

Mary grew up in Duluth Minnesota, her father Leon’s home town. She graduated from Central High School and Duluth Area Vocational Technical Institute. She lived in Chisholm Minnesota for many years after graduation. Her mother Bettie Ruth was born and raised in Winter Haven and so Mary had always loved spending time with family here. She eventually came to live in Winter Haven as a young woman.

Mary worked at Eye Specialists of Mid Florida for 30 years. Eye Specialists created an award in her honor to encourage their employees to exemplify Mary’s special gift when dealing with people, “The Mary Perry Smith Excellence in Service Award”. Mary missed her interactions with her fellow workers, and with her patients, so much that she volunteered and made cookies for them after she retired.

Mary is survived by:

Her husband, Dr. H.G. (Chip) Smith. Mary and Chip truly enjoyed a loving, supportive relationship together, and with God. They had many memorable adventures. Some of these included their excursions to Anna Maria Island to share time with family and friends. Mary loved to sunbathe on their boat, and Chip happily fulfilled that love. From Chip for Mary, love was not just a “notion” …it was about living it every day.

Her daughter, Adriann Perry (fiancé Jason Honey) was her most special accomplishment. The love bond that was theirs was obvious to all… “I love you to the sky so high and back” was their love expression.

Mary’s stepchildren (whom she loved as her own) Jimmy Hensley and Amanda, their children Trinity, Tyler, Gabriel, Luke, Emilie and Adalyn; Jason and wife Amber Smith and their children Teagan, Titus and the newest addition to come this summer; Jackie and husband Jesse Burton and their son Cash.

Dawn Mitchell Fitzgerald (fiancé Garo Lehmejian). Her cousin who was really her sister at heart.

And, many more dear family members and wonderful, loving friends.

Mary was pre-deceased by her parents Leon and Bettie Mitchell, her brother Leon Mitchell, grandparents, Milton and Mary Mitchell, George Emmett and Lois Bennett, and a special Uncle Elmo Bennett.

Memories and dreams are precious things. They are always there when you need them most. Carry your memories of Mary in your heart and not on your shoulders. The weight of sadness is otherwise too heavy to carry. ~unknown

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Winter Haven Worship Center, 1835 Overlook Drive, Winter Haven, 33884, on Saturday, May 23rd at 11:00 am. Due to COVID 19, we will be adhering to strict guidelines in order to protect those attending. The service will also be live streamed at

Related Topics: OBITS