Margaret Ward Sipple Smith, 90, a native of Savannah, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her Whitemarsh Island home on Tuesday morning, January 14, 2020, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. She was born at the Telfair Hospital on January 17,1929 to Dr. and Mrs. Julius Ward Sipple. Margaret was the youngest of the three Sipple girls. They grew up on Calhoun Square overlooking Massie Common School and Wesley Monumental Methodist Church, where they could hear the bells ring summoning them to school and church. Margaret spent her summers with her family and her pony at their Wilmington Island family cottage. She was a synchronized swimmer and an accomplished diver.
She met the love of her life, Henry Colbert “H.C.” Smith, while attending Savannah High School. Margaret continued her education in Atlanta and graduated in 1950 from Georgia Baptist College of Nursing as a BSN Registered Nurse. She enjoyed riding the Nancy Hanks II back and forth to college. Margaret and H. C. married on May 2, 1951 at Naval Air Station Pensacola Chapel immediately after he graduated flight training school and received his United States Navy Wings of Gold. H.C.’s military service took them from Pensacola to Corpus Christi, Key West, Jacksonville and Knoxville, before they returned to Savannah.
Her greatest joy was being a stay at home mom and raising her five children in the church. She was an active, long-time member of Epworth Methodist Church, where she loved taking care of the babies in the nursery. After moving to the island, she transferred her membership to Wilmington Island United Methodist Church. Margaret was an avid reader and had an immense love and appreciation for birds, trees and nature. Her greatest love was being a mother and a grandmother.
She was preceded in death by her parents; one granddaughter, Joanna Nell Smith, and two sisters, Nell Sipple Nichols and May Sipple Sklorosky.
Margaret is survived by her husband, Henry C. Smith and five children: Henry Colbert Smith, Jr. (Dotti), Carol Smith Lewis (Curtis), Margaret “Peggy” Smith Judkins (Holland), Donna Ruth Smith, all of Savannah; Kay Smith Weber (Dan) of Atlanta, Georgia; ten grandchildren, Benjamin Alexander Smith (Heather), Stuart Ward Smith (Lauryn), Philip Andrew Smith, Marshall Julian Weber, Kathleen Nicole Weber, Dr. Caroline Michaux Lewis Stovall (Brady), Julius Curtis Lewis IV (Caroline), Henry Smith Lewis, Henry Colbert Judkins, Holland Ball Judkins IV, two great-grandsons, Lukas Jericho Smith and Duncan Rodriguez Smith, eight nieces and several cousins.
The family is especially grateful to Dora Shepard and Carolyn Milton and their co-workers of Handle with Loving Care, who were devoted to Margaret for eight years. The family would also like to thank Hospice Savannah, Dr. Robert Rollings, Dr. Marianne Fleming, Dr. Mark Murphy, and Memorial University Medical Center for the personal and professional care they extended to Margaret during the last years of her life.
The family will receive friends from 1:30 until 2 Friday afternoon, January 17, 2020, at the graveside, Bonaventure Cemetery.
Her graveside service, which will be a Celebration of Life on her 91st birthday, will be at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon, January 17, 2020, in Bonaventure Cemetery conducted by the Reverend William G. Hester.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Hospice Savannah – Post Office Box 13190, Savannah, Georgia 31416-0190 or Massie Heritage Center – 207 East Gordon Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401-5003 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.