Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Betty Smith, one of Cathedral’s original members, dies

Published September 18, 2014

ATLANTA—Elizabeth “Betty” Haverty Smith died Sept. 14 at the age of 90. Smith, remembered as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and philanthropist, was born in Atlanta on April 4, 1924. She was the daughter of the former Elizabeth Rawson and Clarence Haverty and the granddaughter of J.J. Haverty, founder of Haverty Furniture Co.

Betty graduated from North Fulton High School and Sweet Briar College. During World War II, she worked as a nurse’s aide at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. In 1946, after a whirlwind courtship, she married the love of her life, Alexander Wyly Smith III, who had recently returned from service in World War II and was beginning a career in law. They settled in Atlanta and raised a family of eight children. They were married for 62 years until her husband’s death in 2008.

As a young girl, she had attended the first Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Aug. 15, 1936. Along with her family, she was instrumental in establishing the parish.

For many years, she attended daily Mass at the Cathedral. With her husband, Betty co-chaired the 50th anniversary campaign. She was honorary chair of the parish’s 75th anniversary campaign in 2012. She co-founded the Alex and Betty Smith Foundation. With Alex, she shared the St. Peter Chanel Award for lifetime commitment from Marist School where her sons and a granddaughter graduated. She also authored three books: her memoir, a biography of her mother and a book of poetry.

She is survived by her daughters Elizabeth (James) Crew of Big Canoe; Laura (Richard) Brown of Norwell, Massachusetts; and sons Clarence (Lamar), James (Mary Anne Walser), Kendrick (Caryl), William (Amy), all of Atlanta; Anthony (Andrea Erickson) of Marlborough, Massachusetts; 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by husband, Alexander Smith III, son, Alex Smith IV, and siblings, Claire Ridley and Rawson Haverty.

The funeral service was to be held at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Friday, Sept. 19. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center, 6700 Riverside Drive, NW, Atlanta, GA 30328.