Sarah Kathleen Posey Smith was born June 13, 1924, in Philadelphia. Her parents, John Leonard Posey and Nellie Tingle Posey, were life-long residents of Neshoba County. She had two sisters, the late J’Nell Posey Coffman and Betty Ann Posey Gardner of Wilmington, DE. She died on May 14, in Memphis, where she had lived for the last five and a half years.
From a young age, “Posey” was an avid reader and had a very inquisitive mind. Until the very end of her life, she was still seeking to learn and understand more. She was graduated from Philadelphia High School in 1941, received the B.A. degree from Millsaps College in 1944, and attended advanced courses at the University of Mississippi, Jackson State College, and Mississippi State University.
Posey taught English in the public schools of West Point and Jackson for 29 years. She challenged her students to excel and often was able to call forth the best in them. In addition, she was an active member and officer of the education associations on the local, state and national levels. She served as Resolutions Chairperson of the National Education Association and was present at the White House when the law creating the Department of Education was signed in 1979. As president of the Jackson Education Association during the turbulent times of the early 70s, she had courage and stood firmly for what she believed to be right and in the best interest of teachers and students.
Posey’s primary interest beyond her family was serving in the church in many different capacities. She was as an officer of the United Methodist Women in the local church, district, and state organizations. In 1952 she was president of Church Women United of Jackson and continued as an active member of CWU through the years. She was a longtime member of Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church where she served as a church schoolteacher, on the Church Council, and as a volunteer at Grace Place.
For many years Sarah Posey Smith was active in the cultural and social life of Jackson. During her lifetime, she held memberships in the Research Club, Book Friends, Museum of Art, Mecca Luncheon and Bridge Club, Las Camaradas, New Stage, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, Millsaps Arts and Lecture Board, League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, Kappa Delta Alumnae Association, Common Cause, and Operation Shoestring. She received the 1990 Millsaps College James Livesay Service Award.
On June 15, 1946, she was married to James Knox “Sut” Smith from West Point. He predeceased her on January 2, 2009.
Their children are the Rev. Emily Smith Matheny (Mark) of Memphis and Elizabeth Smith Small (Tom) of Little Rock. Their grandchildren are Justin Lee Matheny (Karla) of Jackson, Sarah Claire Matheny (Adam Noyce) of Columbia, MD, and Cary Small Koss (Brian) of Little Rock, and their six great-grandchildren are Phoebe Noyce, Robert Matheny, Bennett Koss, Annie Matheny, Jay Noyce, and Parker Koss.
Memorial Services were held at Galloway Memorial Church on June 15, which was the 73rd anniversary of Posey and Sut’s marriage. The Genesis Program at the Education and Research Institute has received a donation of her body.
Memorials may be made to the Sut Smith Hospitality Fund at Galloway UMC or to the Millsaps College Legacy Fund, 1701 N State Street, Jackson, MS 39210.