leigh (smitherman) edwards

Leigh Smitherman Edwards (born September of 1956) passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on March 30, 2021.

Born in Houston to Betty Jo and Gene Smitherman, Leigh was the eldest of three. From an early age Leigh was known for her big heart, endless kindness, creative flair, and hilarious sense of humor, all of which would become her signatures. Leigh's early knack for writing led to awards in journalism at Lee High School where she was editor of the newspaper; she also later was a writer for the Vanderbilt University newspaper. It was at Vanderbilt that her love for art developed and flourished. After graduation she returned to Houston and started in the art business working with Larry and Marjorie Kauffman; she also began a lifelong commitment to her Bible study, a place where she lead, participated, inspired, and made enduring friends.

Her magnetism was not limited to those dear friends as Leigh managed to turn down four marriage proposals before meeting the love of her life, Bob Edwards, through a mutual friend. The couple was so engrossed in conversation during their first date that the restaurant kitchen closed before they ordered; unsurprisingly marriage followed eleven months later, in January 1989. Bob was Leigh's perfect match -- he a sharp engineer turned businessman with a goofy sense of humor and mischievous side, while Leigh a natural cheerleader with a core talent for finding joy and happiness in every nook and cranny of life. Leigh encouraged Bob to take a leap of faith and apply to Stanford University for a Master's degree by saying "it's just the cost of a postage stamp", while Bob encouraged Leigh to find success in running her own art consulting company. That postage stamp led to three beautiful years at Stanford and lifelong friendships.

The couple welcomed their two daughters, Alston and Francie, in Palo Alto, followed shortly by their son, Teddy, in Houston. While Leigh experienced success in every facet of her life, her greatest joy was in her role as a mom to her three children. Leigh was known throughout the family and her West U neighborhood for her creative games, art projects, and make-believe stories. She volunteered to teach students throughout Houston about art, hoping to instill in them her same passion that she had developed as a college student.

When Bob's career took the family first to Singapore and then to London, Leigh looked at the opportunities as new adventures. From Singapore they explored most of Southeast Asia, and in London, Leigh made some of her dearest friends in her pub club and her running group. After London, the Edwards family moved to Dallas where Leigh became an active volunteer in the St. Mark's School of Texas community.

With characteristic grace and faith, Leigh fought Early Onset Alzheimer's disease for over a decade, remaining joyful and positive through to the end.

She is survived by her husband, Bob, her children, Alston White and husband Jordan, Francie Chomic and husband Max, and Teddy Edwards and fiancé Mary Hinton.

In the last year and half of her life Leigh experienced the ultimate joy of greeting her three grandchildren: MaryLeigh Chomic, Lily Edwards, and Emory White.

In addition, she will be missed by her siblings, John and Lois Smitherman and their children, Eben and Marylynn, and Mary Nell and Bill Browning and their children Mary Bell and Gregory Clement and Ina Browning; and her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Carol and Jim Snodgress and their children Sarah and Ryan Eppehimer and Kelly and Mike Snodgress.

It is impossible to describe not just how much she will be missed by her family and friends, but also how very much she added to their lives.

The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the many caregivers for the kindness and care they provided Leigh from the minute they met her. In lieu of flowers, donations in Leigh's honor may be made to the Glassell School of Art Annual Fund Drive, www.mfah.org/give/glassell-school-annual-fund, providing access to art education to children in the Houston community.

A service celebrating Leigh's life will be held at River Oaks Baptist Church on Saturday, April 3 at 11:00am.

To join via livestream: https://zoom.us/ Meeting ID: 913 6391 6861 Passcode: 139714

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.

Published by Houston Chronicle from Mar. 31 to Apr. 2, 2021.