Elizabeth Smith Alford obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Elizabeth Smith Alford

March 2, 1919 - March 28, 2015

Obituary


Elizabeth Talbot Smith Alford, 96, of Charlottesville, died March 28, 2015, at Martha Jefferson Hospital. She was the widow of Neill H. Alford Jr.



Mrs. Alford, known as both Elizabeth and Lib, was born March 2, 1919, in Greenville, S.C., to Walter Lindsay Smith and Margaret Reynolds Smith.



She graduated in 1936 from Greenville High School, where she was salutatorian of her class and student body vice president. In 1940, she graduated with a B.A. in music from Furman University, where she was in two honorary societies, Zetosophia (academic) and Senior Order (leadership)....

Elizabeth Talbot Smith Alford, 96, of Charlottesville, died March 28, 2015, at Martha Jefferson Hospital. She was the widow of Neill H. Alford Jr.



Mrs. Alford, known as both Elizabeth and Lib, was born March 2, 1919, in Greenville, S.C., to Walter Lindsay Smith and Margaret Reynolds Smith.



She graduated in 1936 from Greenville High School, where she was salutatorian of her class and student body vice president. In 1940, she graduated with a B.A. in music from Furman University, where she was in two honorary societies, Zetosophia (academic) and Senior Order (leadership). In 1943, she earned a diploma in piano from the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, where she studied with James Friskin. She loved living in New York and remembered it as a highlight of her life.



In 1943, she married Neill Herbert Alford Jr., whom she had known since first grade. They were married 64 years, until Neill’s death in 2007. When they married, Neill was serving in the Army during World War II. When he deployed to Europe in late 1944, Lib returned to Greenville and taught at Greenville High School.



In March 1946, Neill returned from the war and his postwar Army service in Europe. That summer, they moved to Charlottesville so Neill could finish law school at the University of Virginia (his studies were interrupted by military service). After he graduated in 1947, he joined the U.Va. law faculty and they lived in Charlottesville after that, except for a year at Yale University in 1950-51; a year at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., in 1961-62; and two years (1974-76) in Athens, Ga., when Neill was dean of the University of Georgia law school.



A gifted musician, Lib taught piano in Charlottesville from 1952 until the early 1970s. She taught music and directed the glee club at St. Anne’s School in Charlottesville in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the early 1940s, she taught music in the McColl, S.C., schools, and carefully saved money to attend Juilliard.



In Charlottesville, she loved being a member of the Piano Group, a group of women who met regularly for more than 40 years to play music for each other. She was a member and former president of the Faculty Wives Club (now University Women’s Club) at the University of Virginia. She also was a member and former president of the Wednesday Music Club. She was a member of Broadus Memorial Baptist Church and, earlier, First Baptist Church.



She volunteered as a room mother, band parent and in other roles for her children’s schools and activities; she was a volunteer music teacher at Venable School in the 1960s.



Lib liked to read and was expert at math and crossword puzzles. She and Neill shared a sense of adventure and loved to travel. Lib was an excellent trip planner and liked to study maps; before anyone used the Internet and GPS, she planned two cross-country camping adventures for her family, one to the Grand Canyon, and one to Yellowstone and the Tetons. She energetically explored cities on her own when she accompanied Neill to conferences.



Lib approached life with enthusiasm, humor and optimism. She gave boundless encouragement to her family and was hospitable to everyone from neighborhood kids to law students to dignitaries visiting the university. Four weeks before her death, she enjoyed going out to lunch to celebrate her 96th birthday with family, including a new great-granddaughter named Elizabeth Alford.



In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by her three brothers, W. Lindsay Smith Jr., Mallory Reynolds Smith and Randolph Smith, and two nephews.



She is survived by three children: Neill H. Alford III, and his wife, Pattie, of Virginia Beach; Margaret Alford Cloud and her husband, Bill, of Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Eli Thomas S. Alford and his wife, Lisa, of West Chester, Ohio.



She is also survived by three grandchildren and their spouses, Diane E. Croce (Andrew) of Springfield, Va.; Eli T.S. Alford Jr. (Alison) of Alexandria, Va.; and Lindsay A. Ramspott (Jason), of Concord, N.C. Also surviving are four great-grandchildren, Walker M. Ramspott, Jacob A. Croce, Frederick A. Ramspott and Elizabeth S. Alford, and a former daughter-in-law, Anne B. Alford, of Lorton, Va., and a sister-in-law, Charlotte R. Smith, of Greenville, S.C. She is also survived by four nieces and four nephews, of whom she was very fond.



Condolences may be sent to the family at 14 Timberlyne Rd., Chapel Hill, NC, 27514, or at www.teaguefuneralhome.com



She will be buried next to her husband on April 18 at the Alford Cemetery at Minturn, S.C., with a memorial service in Charlottesville later (date will be announced later). Cooper Funeral Home in Dillon, S.C., is handling the graveside service; Teague Funeral Home has been in charge in Charlottesville.



Memorial contributions may be made to the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (www.carsrescue.org or 828 McIntire Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22902), to the Wednesday Music Club (scholarships) (www.wednesdaymusicclub.org or PO Box 7642, Charlottesville, VA 22906), or to a charity of one’s choice.