Jean Marie Nazaretian Smith, age 92, resident of Niceville peacefully left this life on Friday, May 10th, 2019. Jean was a resident of Twin Cities Pavilion in Niceville. Dementia had taken many memories away, but much of her energetic personality remained.
Jean loved people. Although she was only 4’10.5”, she filled any room she was in with her sassy and friendly personality. Jean was born in Fairfield, Alabama on August 19, 1926. She was the oldest of three children of Jeane Onick Nazaretian and Alice Yarchak Nazaretian. “Mr. Jeane,” a resident of Constantinople, Turkey, left that country with his family to escape the persecution of the Armenian people. He joined his brother in Birmingham, eventually opening his own dental lab in Ensley, Alabama. Alice’s parents immigrated from Poland and Belarus to Brookside, Alabama where her father was engaged in mining.
Jean attended Auburn University where she met her future husband, World War II veteran, Thomas C. (Jack) Smith. After her graduation in 1948, Jean and Jack were married at the Hellenic Orthodox Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1951. She worked at TCI, later US Steel, until the birth of her first child. Jean was a very outgoing wife and mother. She devoted herself to creating a happy and healthy home for her family and to being a part of her community. Jean spent countless hours as a substitute teacher and school volunteer, including terms as PTA President. She headed the committees for the concession stands for Little League and for the high school band. In addition to being the caregiver for her mother and father, Jean worked as a merchandiser for Nabisco, RJ Reynolds and American Greetings for many years in central Alabama and Northwest Florida. She created friendships with store managers and co-workers wherever she went. Jean moved to Niceville to be near her daughter’s family in 1990.
As an Auburn alumna, Jean was especially proud of Auburn’s role in the Space Program, and she remained a life-long supporter of Auburn University and its mission. Jean spent many happy football weekends at the Heart of Auburn motel with friends she met there, especially her “other daughter,” Abby Pettiss Kuehn.
Jean has been joyfully reunited with her husband, parents and sister, Dr. Angeline Nazaretian of Athens, Alabama. She is survived by her brother, Peter Nazaretian and wife, Peggy, of Tampa;, son, Clint Smith and wife, Susan, of Atlanta, Georgia; daughter, Alicia Franklin and husband, Brian, of Shalimar, Florida; nephews, Nick and Todd; and three grandchildren, James, Hayley and Rowan.
Jean’s family would like to thank the caring and loving staff of Twin Cities Pavilion. You made Mama’s later years safe, healthy, and fun, and we saw your love in everything you did. We would also like to thank VITAS Hospice, especially Valerie, Cindy, Jen, Tom, Josh, Miranda, and Charlene. In your support of Mama, you showed us the beauty of the journey.
A memorial service will be held at Shalimar United Methodist Church at a future date.
Arrangements are under the direction of Davis-Watkins Funeral Home.