As she wished, Georgia Mae Smith was interred in the Hillside Mausoleum, crypt #56-D at the beautiful Oakmont Mortuary in Lafayette, California on September 18. On All Saints Day, Sunday, November 1, her church family at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland will remember her. And, on the evening of Friday, November 6, 11:00pm EST, her family and friends will light candles in her memory.
Friday, November 6, 11:00pm EST, her family and friends will participate in a candlelight vigil in her memory.
Georgia on my mind...
Georgia Mae Smith, born in Colquitt, Georgia on a Fall evening in 1924, was always one of the most beautiful women in whatever room she entered. Her physical beauty was surpassed only by her warm, accepting personality and openheartedness. Her laugh was infectious. Quite often, people made her laugh just to hear her famous "cackle." Everyone was welcomed into her world regardless of age, religion, gender, race or sexual orientation. Georgia loved being around a diverse group of people and was always open to new ideas and perspectives. Throughout her long life, she worked hard and played hard. She maintained lifelong friendships with many people from her community, church, and workplaces.
Although Georgia Mae was a real "Georgia Peach," she lived most of her life on the West Coast, first in Portland, Oregon and then in Oakland, California where she raised her three sons, Stanley, Freeman, and Chris on her own. Even with a limited formal education, Georgia was successful in her chosen field: cooking. She was a magnificent self-taught cook who could make everything from fine French and hearty British cuisines to the best-ever Southern fried chicken, New Orleans-style gumbo and Italian spaghetti. She was a baker, too, and was well known for her lemon meringue pies, peach cobblers, and banana pudding. She honed her skills as a chef at The Public House in Oakland, and then the Metropole Restaurant in Berkeley where she ruled the kitchen for 20 years.
She loved to gamble - cards, horse racing, casinos - and made weekend trips to Reno and the racetracks. When her baby sister, Charlene Outland, moved to Monterrey, California in the 70s, they planned and co-hosted card parties and luaus and formal events together for years. They both loved to entertain. Over the following years, the sisters became best friends; talked on the phone almost everyday and visited each other as often they could. When Charlene died in June, 2015, Georgia Mae was inconsolable.
Georgia Mae was an avid reader and she kept abreast of current events. She loved children, calla lilies, beautiful clothes, dogs, margaritas, brandy, and her own cooking. You knew it was an occasion when she broke out her favorite champagne. She loved shopping flea markets and auctions. One of her favorite sayings upon entering a room was, "Look what you could have if you ain't got nobody."
She was raised Baptist in Georgia in New Hope Baptist Church. In Oakland, she first joined the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, and was later a member of the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church for nearly 30 years. But, she was fascinated by Buddhism and other Eastern religions, too. She was associated with Oakland's Perfect Liberty Church for many years. Georgia enjoyed road trips and social gatherings with members of both churches.
Georgia Mae is survived by her three adult sons, Stanley Lippitt (and his wife Bianca and their sons, Oshmin and Beethoven), Freeman Demry, Jr, and Christopher Lane, (and his former wife, Yvonne "Peaches" Lane); and by her granddaughters, Chawnette Sneed and Christin Lane; grandson, Christopher Lane; great-granddaughters, Raynette Albert, A'Nyah Ramirez, Mia Baskin, and Layah Furtado; great-grandson, Dionte' Robinson, and great-great granddaughter, Bailey Rae Albert. Georgia Mae is survived by several nieces, nephews and cousins. She was especially close to her niece, Gloria Wilson Moore, who she treated like her daughter, and her great-niece, Amber Moore, who she named. Other members of Georgia Mae's extended family who survive her include Walter Lane and Freeman Demry, Sr. She is preceded in death by loved ones who will welcome her home including her mother, Pearl Singletary and her father, Richard Calhoun; her siblings John Lee Cook, Dora Mae Brantley, Charlene Outland, L.C. Singletary, Wilmer Singletary, and Waddell Sales, Joseph Calhoun, Patricia Calhoun and Lawson Calhoun; and life-long friends including Ad Lippitt.
One of Georgia Mae's long-time best friends, Michael Kretowicz, says of her, "Georgia touched the lives of so many people. I think about her life in Georgia and how she became a woman who cared so deeply about her family and her friends. She was never selfish. She was a beautiful soul who acknowledged people. And she could put you in your place, if you needed it. Thank all of the Gods of the universe for Georgia Mae Smith. She was more than a friend. She was a generous, smart woman who made our lives beautiful."