Mildred Primos Smith, beloved of all who knew her, went to be with her Lord and Savior on September 9, 2019, after a brief battle with congestive heart failure.
Born Mildred Persephonia Primos on December 6, 1930, she was the only daughter of Angelo Kenneth Primos, “Pop” and Mildred Vergis Primos, “Mom”. Mildred was born and reared in Jackson, along with four brothers, Aleck, Kenneth, Gus and Billy. As the only girl, she was doted on by her adoring father. She was known to all her family, including her 13 nieces and nephews and many great nieces and nephews, as “Sister”.
At an early age, she learned from her father how to cook and serve others by helping in their family business, Primos Restaurant. From her Mother, she learned a love of gardening and was always gracious to share her beautiful garden with others. From her brothers, she learned a sense of independence and strength, which she exhibited until the minute of her death.
Mildred graduated from Central High School in 1949. Her remaining classmates call themselves “The ’49er’s” and still have reunions at least once a year. She attended Stephens College in St. Louis and then transferred to the University of Mississippi. It was there she met her future husband, Victor Prowell Smith, known affectionately to his friends as “Boopie”. They married on December 31, 1951, and immediately left for Arlington, Virginia, where Victor served in the U.S. Army. The following year, their first daughter Angie was born. Mildred had fond memories of living in Arlington when Angie was a baby, where she and the other military wives formed wonderful friendships, spending their days in the close quarters of the military apartments.
They moved to Jackson in 1954 after Victor was discharged from the Army. There, Sheila was born, and Victor started working for Pop in the restaurant business, as Pop was determined to
keep his only daughter in Jackson. Eventually, they had two more children, Linda and Victor, Jr., and Victor began his career as an independent oil and gas producer.
Mildred nurtured family traditions such as Sunday lunches at Primos and Christmas morning and Easter egg hunts at Mom and Pop’s house. Mildred reared her family at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, but she and Victor joined Northminster Baptist Church in 1979, where she became active in outreach programs such as Meals on Wheels.
Mildred was widely known for her wonderful sense of style and exquisite taste. She began a love affair with antiques in the 1970’s that continued the rest of her life. She was an avid collector, and took many shopping trips to England and France over the years. She loved to travel, and one of her favorite trips was when she and her sisters-in-law took Pop to Greece to visit his birthplace on the island of Mytilene.
Mildred and Victor had lifelong friendships with many wonderful families. She had friends in all places, from the staff at Primos, to her Monday Prayer Group, her Pilates group, the LeFleur Garden Club, The Random Club and the Lunch Bunch.
She possessed a soft spot for dogs of all kinds, especially her grand-dogs. All the dogs in her neighborhood routinely knew where to stop for a home-made treat.
She was a life-long learner, reading the Wall Street Journal until just days before her death. In memory of her father and in recognition of his support to young architects in Mississippi, she and her brothers established the Angelo “Pops” Primos Computer Scholarship at the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University.
Mildred is survived by her husband of 67 years, Victor, her children Angie Smith, Sheila Willson (Keith) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Linda Mallory (Neely) of Memphis and Victor Jr. of Oxford, and her grandchildren, Keith Willson, Julia Willson, Forrest Willson (Amy), Andrew Gowdey (Marion), Ben Gowdey (Katherine), Evelyn Smith, Prowell Smith and Henry Smith, and her great-granddaughter Mildred “Millie” Gowdey. She is also survived by her brothers Kenneth (Mary Ann) Primos, Gus (Jonelle) Primos, and Billy (Mary Jane) Primos. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Aleck Primos.
Visitation will be held at at noon at Northminster Baptist Church, followed by the funeral at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14. The family would like to thank the wonderful doctors and nurses at St. Dominic’s Hospital, and the nurses and staff at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Northminster Baptist Church, 3955 Ridgewood Rd. Jackson, MS 39211; the USA International Ballet Competition, P.O. Box 3696 Jackson, MS 39207; The MSU Foundation, P.O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762 (write “Pops Primos Fund” in the memo line).