On Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, Irene Alexander Robinson Smith, loving wife, mother and grandmother, passed away surrounded by family.
A memorial service was held on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. at Covington First United Methodist Church with Dr. Don Martin, Dr. Royeese Stowe and Miss Ashley Nichole Smith officiating. Inurnment will follow in Covington City Cemetery.
Irene was born on Aug. 23, 1940, in Atlanta, to Guy Robinson and Irene Robinson. She spent her childhood at her father's Pharmacy,City Pharmacy, on the square in Covington, Georgia, and later graduated from Newton County High School. After high school, she attended Brenau University, where she became a devoted sister of the Omicron Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha. Irene taught first grade in Atlanta, Georgia, and Newton County Georgia. She served as the President of the Brenau Alumni Association and was a member of the Board of Trustees. In that role, she received the Outstanding Alumni and Community Service Award and was later voted into the Brenau University Hall of Fame.
Irene married Billy S. Smith on Nov. 20 at the First United Methodist Church of Covington, where both she and Billy have been lifelong members. They share two devoted children, Fleeta and Chris.
While living in Covington at her beloved historic home Dixie Manor, her passion for historic preservation and gardening flourished. She was the President of the Newton County Historical Society, Covington Garden Club, Athens Ladies Garden Club, and Friends of State Botanical Gardens of Georgia. Irene chaired multipleGarden of The World Ball events for the Athens Botanical Garden and was a District and State Board member of The Garden Club of Georgia. She became a Master Gardener and served on the Board of Advisors for the State Botanical Gardens. One of her favorite memories at Dixie Manor was when the Superior Court Judges of the Alcovy Circuit requested she host lunch for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy following the dedication of the new courthouse. Hosting parties was her specialty, and she exemplified the true definition of Southern hospitality.
Her love for Newton County and the City of Covington was shared through her contributions in the local community.
Irene was the first Design Chairman of the Downtown Main Street Covington Board and the first Chairperson of Tourism for the Newton County Chamber of Commerce. She was voted one of theTop Ten Women of Newton County and awarded a Life Time Membership to the Newton County Chamber of Commerce for her work in tourism. One of her favorite recognitions was the Art Wall that was dedicated in her honor at the Chamber of Commerce. In between working in her garden and the community, she was a member of the Newton General Hospital Auxiliary Board, a patron member of the Georgia Museum of Art, a member of the Learning Center for Newton County, and Chairman of the Newton Country Grand Jury. She additionally served as an active member of the Sargent Newton D.A.R. for 30 years, where she held many positions, one of which was working as the publishing representative to the U.S Congress in Washington D.C.
Irene was best known for her writing and cooking. She spoke on cooking panels in five different states and wrote the local garden column for the Covington News on a weekly basis. She was the author of four cookbooks and the television host of two local shows,Taste of Newton and Calling All Cooks.She was featured multiple times in Southern Living Magazine and onThe Food Network. When Irene was not in Georgia, you could find her on her beloved Daufuskie Island in South Carolina. There she was a member of the Daufuskie Island Women's Organization, Daufuskie Island Historical Society, and an Associate Member of First Union African Baptist Church on the Island.
Irene and Billy eventually moved to Stone Mountain, Georgia, where she continued to pursue her passions in their neighborhood community. At Park Springs, she was Chairman of the first annual Christmas Tour, taught the first ever coloring book art classes and led trivia on Saturday afternoons. One of her favorite jobs was selecting the artist of the week to be displayed in the lobby.
Even after their move to Stone Mountain, she brought several groups of Park Springs residents to tour the city she cherished, Covington. She is survived by her husband Billy S. Smith, her daughter Fleeta S. Baggett, her son Christopher R. Smith, his wife Gidget Smith, and her three beloved granddaughters Madelyn, Ashley, and Kristi Rene, who are carrying on her spunk and love for life. The family has requested gifts to be made to the Park Springs Foundation, 500 Springhouse Circle, Stone Mountain, Georgia 30087 or the Covington First United Methodist Church building fund. Online condolences may be left at billheadfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.