03/18/10 - NNHS Newsletter - Prentis Smith
Prentis Percival Smith
Newport News High School Class of 19__
Friends and Schoolmates,
We have yet another sad edition of the NNHS Newsletter this Thursday morning. Prentis Smith, Class of 19__, passed away at home in Newport News on Monday evening, March 15, 2010 at the age of 103. He was the grandson of the late Dr. Humphrey Harwood Curtis (d. 1881) and Maria Whitaker Curtis (d. 1919) of Endview Plantation.
From the Daily Press - 03/17/10:
Prentis P. Smith
NEWS - Prentis Percival Smith passed away at home the evening of March
He was predeceased by his wife, Edwynne Parker Smith; son, Benjamin Dennis Smith; and sister, Elizabeth Fauntleroy Smith Bentien.
A lifelong resident of the Denbigh area of Newport News, he was the son of the late Benjamin P. Smith and Mary Curtis Smith and the grandson of the late Dr. Humphrey Harwood Curtis and Maria Whitaker Curtis of Endview Plantation.
Mr. Smith was a graduate of Newport News High School and attended Virginia Military Institute. He was the rural mail carrier of the Denbigh Post Office for 33 years before his retirement in 1965. He was the Grand Marshall of Denbigh Day in 2003.
|Prentis P. Smith|
Mr. Smith is survived by his son, James P. Smith and his wife, Armanda
Smith; daughter, Nellie Smith Schultz; grandsons, James P. Smith Jr. and his
wife, Ann Smith and Jeffery P. Smith and his wife, Jenifer Smith;
granddaughter, Leslie Ann Smith; and great-grandchildren, Parker Smith,
Summer Smith, James D. Smith and Jenna Smith.
The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, at Peninsula Funeral Home. Graveside services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18, in Peninsula Memorial Park, officiated by Minister Marcia Fuson.
In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be sent to First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, 1458 Todds Lane, Hampton, VA 23666.
Peninsula Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.
Published in the Daily Press from March 17 to March 18, 2010.
March 17, 2010
Mr. Smith was my neighbor since I was seven years old. He loved to walk his dog and always had a lollipop for us. He would always watch my brothers, sister, and me play. I will always remember Mr. Smith as a nice caring man. My condolences to his family.
~ Amanda Banner, Newport News, Virginia
March 17, 2010
The Smiths were always such sweet and welcoming people. Mrs. Smith always had cookie and juice and Mr. Smith was up for a game of chess or checkers. Their German Shepherd (believe it was Wilhelmina) was always happy to see you. They were the Grandparents of Denbigh Plantation when I was growing up. Always willing to talk and spend time with warm hearts and an open home. Very fond memories and prayers.
~ Jennifer Buckley of East
Governor (Arlington, Virginia)
March 17, 2010
March 17, 2010
March 17, 2010
Our sincerest sympathies are extended to Mr. Smith's family and friends at this time.
From the Daily Press - 02/09/90:
NEWS - Edwynne Parker Smith, 79, died Thursday, Feb. 8, in her home.
Mrs. Smith was a native of Norfolk and a Peninsula resident for 55 years. She retired in 1965 from the Newport News School System after 14 years. She was a member of Larchmont Baptist Church; Morning Circle of the Lebanon Christian Church; Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, Omicron chapter; and Denbigh Plantation Garden Club.
Survivors include a daughter, Nellie S. Schultz of Newport News; and two sons, James P. Smith of Stevensville, Md., and Benjamin D. Smith of Colonial Beach.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in Peninsula Memorial Park.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 tonight in Peninsula Funeral Home.
Published in the Daily Press (Newport News, VA) - Friday, February 9, 1990.
From the Daily Press - 09/18/03:
HISTORY - LIFELONG RESIDENTS OF DENBIGH TO HAVE HONORED PLACES IN PARADE
Author: ALISON FREEHLING, Daily Press
For Prentis Smith and Fauntleroy Bentien, Endview Plantation isn't a museum. It isn't just a piece of history. It's their family home -- the place where their grandparents lived and their mother was born and raised.
On Sundays during their own childhoods, Smith and Bentien would go to the plantation for dinner after church. The siblings feasted on geese, hogs and turkeys raised on the farm and watched peacocks strut around outside. They pulled fresh fruit, butter and milk from the springhouse, where cold water served as a refrigerator.
The two can still picture Denbigh when it was a rural stretch of land, completely separate from Newport News. Smith, a longtime mail carrier, knew everyone who lived there. He got his education in a one-room school behind a neighbor's house.
Come Saturday, the lifelong Denbigh residents hope to help their newer neighbors remember some of that history. Smith, now 97, will serve as grand marshal of the annual Denbigh Day parade. His 90-year-old sister, a former elementary school teacher, will act as honorary mayor at the community celebration.
"We're very honored, and we want to give everyone town spirit," Bentien said. "A lot of people think of Denbigh as just a section of Newport News, but Denbigh, you see, is real old. We don't want people to forget that."
Endview Plantation, built in 1769, is one of the area's historic treasures. George Washington and his troops stopped to rest there in 1781 during their march on the British at Yorktown. The kitchen once served as a hospital for soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
Humphrey Harwood Curtis, a Civil War soldier himself and the first to own the land under the name Endview Plantation, is Smith and Bentien's grandfather. Given that rich history, choosing the siblings to lead the parade was a no-brainer, said John Curry, head of publicity for the event.
"When it's time to say it's Denbigh Day, they're exactly what it's about," Curry said. "They are living history."
During the parade, Bentien will read a proclamation declaring herself the honorary mayor and Smith will ride in a lead car. While that's more publicity than they're used to, the siblings do all they can on a daily basis to honor the past. Proud, friendly and articulate people, they love telling stories about their family.
Along with many historic photos, Bentien has several original pieces of her grandparents' furniture from Endview at her current home. That includes their canopy bed, bought in 1858, and a wooden chest still marked with a burn from medical scissors that her grandfather, a doctor, had heat-sterilized. She also has an original nail from 1769.
The house had fallen into disrepair by the time the city decided to restore it. In May 2000, Smith and Bentien rejoiced when the site opened as The Civil War at Endview: A Living History Museum.
It wasn't exactly the same house they remembered. What used to be their grandmother's bedroom, for example, was set up as a medical office, which actually was a separate building outside the home. The peacocks were gone.
But it was close enough, and neither Smith nor Bentien minds the idea of the public walking through their family home.
"It's terrific," Smith said. "It was much in need of repair because the termites were getting in. We're just so thankful it was preserved."
Not surprisingly, the two are against any plans for development near the plantation. The city already has gotten rid of too many historic buildings, Bentien said.
"It's too built-up now," she said. "We've got to protect what's left."
Smith and Bentien have always been close -- she laughs about how her brother taught her how to drive when she was just 12 years old -- and get together at least once a week for lunch.
They also stay healthy by keeping busy. Bentien, a longtime church organist, remains active with her church and with United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Smith , a great-grandfather, is into computer games and either walks a half-hour on a treadmill or rides two to five miles on his stationary bike every day.
"That bike has 4,600 miles on it, and I've never had to change a tire," he joked.
His fondness for Denbigh is just as durable.
"I don't know hardly anyone here now," Smith said. "It's not the same place, but I still love it."
Alison Freehling can be reached at 247-4789 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The annual Denbigh Day parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Denbigh High School. The event dates back to 1960, when hot dogs sold for 15 cents and Cokes for a dime and about 300 people marched. This year's parade will feature some 3,000 people, including high school bands, cheerleaders, youth football teams and dance clubs. There will be rides for kids and food ranging from hot dogs to cotton candy to Brunswick stew. For more information, call John Curry at 874- 3106.
Caption: Staff photo (color) by KENNETH SILVER Denbigh Day honorary mayor Fauntleroy Bentien and her brother, Denbigh Day grand marshal Prentis Smith, sit on a mahogany and cherry wood bed formerly used at Endview Plantation. The bed was wedding furniture that belonged to their grandparents Humphrey Harwood Curtis, the Civil War-era owner of Endview Plantation, and Maria Whitaker Curtis, seen in the portrait in the background. Staff photo (b&w) by KENNETH SILVER Denbigh Day grand marshal Prentis Smith and his sister, honorary mayor Fauntleroy Bentien, stand next to an umbrella stand bought by their uncle Simon R. Curtis at the 1907 Jamestown Exhibition.
Published in the Daily Press (Newport News, VA) - Thursday, September 18, 2003.
Y'all take good care of each other! TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!
Love to all, Carol
NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE:
PERSONAL WEB SITE: http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/cluckmeat
Lead, Kindly Light
Lyrics by John Henry Newman, 1833
(21 Feb 1801 – 11 Aug 1890)
Fourth Verse written by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr.
John B. Dykes, 1865
(10 Mar 1823 – 22 Jan 1876)
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blessed me, sure it will,
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.
"Lead, Kindly Light" midi
(MIDI sequence copyright © 2002 Brian M. Ames) and lyrics courtesy of
Downloadable Sheet Music (Craig Petrie's TTBB arrangement) available at http://www.petriefamily.org/ldsmusic/pdfs/leadkind.pdf - 01/01/04
Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of http://gregolsengallery.com – 01/27/05
Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.bravenet.com - 08/12/04
Back to NNHS Newsletters - 2010
Return to NNHS Class of 1965