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Ricki Burrell Smith, age 69, passed away at Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville, Mississippi, on Monday, February 15, 2021, after battling pneumonia complications over the past two weeks.
Ricki is survived by her husband of 52 years, Roy Lee Smith; her three daughters, Misti and her husband Chadd Garnett with their four children, Todd, Jacob, Lily and Rose, Cristi and her husband Darrell Bolin and their three children, Tyler, Parker and Baylee, and Betty Helen and her husband Heath Dye and their two children, Emmet and Mazie. Ricki is also survived by her two brothers, Bill Burrell of Durant, Mississippi and Sammy Burrell of Meridian, Mississippi.
Ricki was born on July 9, 1951, in Durant, Mississippi, to Frank and Betty Burrell, both deceased.
Ricki graduated from Durant High School in 1969 and later Oxford Cosmetology School. Afterward, she worked as a beautician for 35 years.
Ricki and Roy fell in love during third grade but waited to get married in their senior year on November 16, 1968, in the courthouse. They had their “church wedding” on their 50th anniversary. What a pair! They took on life in all its ups and downs together for 52 years.
Together, they created three lovely daughters, Cristi, Misti and Betty Helen. When talking with Ricki’s daughters, there is a recurring theme: Ricki saw her family as a gift from God and treated them as the treasures they are. She was proud of them no matter what, and that kind of love flowed over to her grandchildren.
Misti says the two most significant memories of her mother are loving her family and connecting over afternoon coffee. Ricki brought coffee to the whole clinic staff, customized to each person’s exact preferences. “Everyone loved ‘Ms. Ricki’s coffee’,” says Misti.
Cristi says she didn’t understand the full value of what Ricki taught her until she had her own child. She found herself prepared to care for her family.
What Betty Helen recalls of Ricki is always being her biggest supporter. From childhood sports to our afternoon phone calls, “I always knew Mom was my number one fan!”
Roy identifies Goldilocks as their fourth child (of the four-legged, furry variety). He recalls Goldilocks getting out of the yard one day and crossing Highway 82. Goldi survived, but Roy insists that we would be reading his obituary if any harm had come to her.
Roy goes on to say their family will grieve for Ricki and remember her as “the most wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, and dog mother.”
Ricki enjoyed going, whether it was shopping with her friends or visiting with her family. She also volunteered at church and loved cooking for everyone, especially her signature dish, taco soup.
Ricki loves God. She and Roy recently moved to Mathiston, Mississippi, and joined First Baptist Church of Mathiston. Before that move, they lived in Starkville and were highly engaged in Faith Baptist Church members for 30 years. Wherever they have been, her love for God is shown brightly through her vibrant personality and thoughtful touches with others. If she could say anything to those she leaves behind, it would be, “God is in the business of healing broken hearts and mending our wounds (Psalm 147:3). Lean into God and one another as you grieve now and let God heal you and restore you.”
A celebration of Ricki’s life was held Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Brother Ken Parvin officiated the ceremony. Visitation was held on the prior evening on Monday, February 22, 2021, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Mathiston First Baptist Church in Mathiston, Mississippi. Burial was at Memorial Garden Park in Starkville, MS.
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1 Comment

  1. Janice on March 11, 2021 at 8:15 am

    I am so sorry to read of your great loss.
    May the Lord bless you and keep you.

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