"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalms 116:15. Therefore, the day of Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, became a precious day in the eyes of the Lord. On that day, Martha Ellen Stroud Smith was taken home to heaven and welcomed into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Over 40 years ago, she placed her faith in Him and never once did she turn from that faith. She was not perfect and only too human but she was a saint in God's eyes and by His definition of the word. Martha Ellen Stroud Smith was born to Robert William Stroud and Ninner Mae Cashion Stroud, March 1, 1933, in Iredell County. She had seven brothers and one sister. Her cherished sister, Thelma Stroud Swicegood, preceded her in death; as did both her parents; and brothers, James Stroud, Herman Stroud, Cecil Stroud and Gerald Stroud. She is survived by brothers Larry Stroud, Kenneth Stroud and Ray Stroud, all of Statesville; and numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom she cared for very much. In 1952, as a young woman of 18, she met, fell in love with and married, Billy Ray Smith, who also preceded her in death in 2001. Mrs. Smith always said that all she ever wanted was to have six children and she, over the course of time, brought six children into this world. Her love and her pride in them knew no bounds. She leaves behind four daughters and their respective spouses, Vicki Smith Dillard and husband, Eddie, Judy Smith English and husband, Lynn, Cynthia Smith Harding, all of Statesville, and Kathy Smith Myers and husband, Dale, of Salisbury. She also leaves behind two sons, Billy Ray Smith, Jr. and wife, Anzietta, of Riva, Md., and Steven Michael Smith and wife, Susan, of Statesville. Mrs. Smith also had ten grandchildren to cherish and who will miss her sorely. They are Daniel Myers, Angella Harding Patterson (Scott), James Harding, Bradley Harding (Shaketa), Jared Overcash (Jennifer), Michael Harkey (Michelle), Kelly Bafford, Billy Ray Smith and Carrie Ellen Smith. A beloved infant granddaughter, Jessica Brooke Overcash, preceded her in death. There are 12 great-grandchildren as well, Kimberley Michelle Mangrum, Seth Edward Patterson, Alexander Patterson, Sydney Ellen Patterson, Kendalyn Harding, Mikie Harkey, Marcus Harkey, Mackensie Harkey, Connor Bafford, Enoch Bafford, Elijah Bafford and Maddox Bafford. She is also survived by a very special friend, Mary Bottoms. Mary remained her best friend even after Mrs. Smith could no longer relate to her on any real level due to the Alzheimer's disease. The debt that we, the Smith children, owe her can never be repaid. Martha Ellen Smith was a housewife for many years until she went to work at Fiber Industries, Inc. She worked there for 20 years or more and subsequently retired from there. In her later years, she suffered from two bouts of cancer from which she recovered. Then she contracted Alzheimer's disease and it was that to which she eventually succumbed. Mr. Smith was a longstanding member of Calvary Community Church, 334 North Oakland Ave., Statesville, and it is there that her funeral will be held Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. The family will gather at the home of Cynthia Harding at 650 Holland Ave., before the funeral. The Rev. Don Horton will preside over the home-going services. She is being taken care of by Bunch-Johnson Funeral home and the visitation will be held this evening, (Tuesday, Nov. 20), from 7 to 9 p.m. The pallbearers of choice will be Daniel Myers, Billy Ray Smith, Jared Overcash, Michael Harkey, Bradley Harding, James Harding, Larry Dillard and Jamie Dillard. She will be buried at Iredell Memorial Gardens, of Statesville. Memorials can be made to Calvary Community Church, in Statesville, if any so desire, but the best memorial that she would want would be a real commitment of one's life to the Savior she served wholeheartedly and without regret for over 40 years.