Obituary: Margaret Mary Fraser Hill Smotherman, 1921-2015


Margaret Mary Smotherman, age 93, passed away on August 21, 2015 in Houston, Texas, at Seven Acres Nursing Home. She was born on November 20, 1921 in Upper Lambourn, Berkshire, England, to Simon and Mary Elizabeth Fraser. During World War II she met and married Staff Sergeant Ben Edwin Hill, Jr., United States Army Air Force on July 8, 1943.

After the war in January, 1946 she and their two children, Sandra Jean and Malcolm Ian, sailed on the first ship to carry war brides across the Atlantic to join their husbands in America. Margaret became a naturalized American in December 1955. The family lived in Nashville, Arkansas, and Fort Worth, Texas until she was widowed in 1964.

Margaret married her second husband, Lemuel Henry Smotherman on December 12, 1966, whereupon they farmed until they retired in Italy, Texas. She became active in her community and was a member of the First Baptist Church. She was very involved in the Fortnightly Club, a women’s service organization, serving as Crafts Committee Chair, Historian and President. She wrote the history of the organization from 1902 onward until she began to lose her sight and could no longer serve. Upon Lemuel’s death in 2004, she moved to Houston to live with her daughter and her family until she required full time nursing care and entered Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care Services in 2012.

Margaret was good company and great fun to be with. She always kept her British accent and had a lively, quick sense of humor and a keen intelligence. She was very well read, generous, and an amazing craftsperson and doll maker. Her Christmas tree ornaments and tree skirts, exhibited in the window of Magic Mirror Beauty Shop, were raffled off each year to raise money for the Fortnightly Club. In retirement she loved living across the street from the Dunlap Library. Ever since she was a child, she had and loved dogs. Many unwanted dogs were dropped off in front of her house on the farm where they found a good home.

Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, her son, Malcolm Ian Hill and her husband, L. H. Smotherman. She is survived by her daughter, Sandra Walsh and her husband, Harry; her grandson Terry Michael Fuller, his wife Christi and great-grandson Brandon Scott; her granddaughter Catherine Elizabeth Essinger and her husband Karl and great-grandchildren Nora Penelope and Malcolm Calvin; and her grandson Thomas Fraser Walsh. She is survived in England by her brothers Ian Kenneth Simon Fraser and his wife Susan; Eric Malcolm Fraser and his wife Pat; Neil Lovat Fraser and his wife Kathleen, sister-in-law Monica Fraser and many loving nieces, nephews, and their children. She is also survived by many of her husband’s relatives, with special mention of her devoted niece Kristi Similar.

The family wishes to thank everyone at Vitas Hospice as well as Seven Acres, its staff, nurses and caregivers for their expert and loving care, especially Dr. Hattie Henderson, nurses Ruby Cage and Patricia Anugwom, CNA Mama Suzie, Veronica Gaskin who made her beautiful, Regina Polk who helped her walk as long as possible, and her caregiver while at home, Jennifer Martin.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, September 11 at 1:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Italy, Texas, with interment following at Italy Cemetery.

An avid reader all her life, when Margaret lost her sight, she drew great pleasure from listening to Talking Books. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in her memory, please consider the Talking Book Program, Texas State Library & Archives Commission, P. O. Box 12516, Austin, TX 78711-2516 or The Snapdragon Book Foundation ( which gives library books to disadvantaged schools to inspire children to read.

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