She also worked for years with children at Israel Baptist Church, where she has been a member since 1947. She was known to pick up children in the neighborhood and take them to church. When her ministry outgrew her car, she bought a van to transport the children, her niece said.
Sparks said her aunt also cared for children in the neighborhood. She was a volunteer tutor for 10 years in the Seniors Teaching and Reaching Students (STARS) program at Jefferson Elementary. For that she received Ohio’s STARS Volunteer of the Year in 2000 from the Ohio Department of Aging.
Smiley also served as a minister to female inmates in the Butler County Jail.
Sparks said her aunt spent her life “serving others,” including counseling those in local nursing homes and hospitals.
Now, Sparks said, she tries to emulate her aunt.
“It rubbed off on me,” she said. “I’m her legacy.”
Smiley, who had no children, is survived by two sisters Mary Ann Samples and Mary Helen Davis of Hamilton and a host of nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held at 6 p.m. July 21 at the Israel Baptist Church, 701 S. Seventh St., Hamilton.