Lorene Holland Smallwood Johnson, age 90, died peacefully on Thursday, February 13, 2020 after a long and courageous journey with Alzheimer’s. She was born on Monday, October 21, 1929 in Bedford, VA, a daughter of the late Oren Douglas Holland and Aileen McGhee Holland.
She was raised on a dairy farm in Bedford County and graduated from Bedford High School in 1947. Her entire life was spent serving others in many capacities. She was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Incredibly skilled in the kitchen, she provided countless delicious meals her family enjoyed around her dining room table. Her famous strawberry jam and her warm homemade dinner rolls were second to none. She was a very talented seamstress who sewed beautiful clothes for herself, her children, and her grandchildren. Her creations have become family heirlooms that will be treasured for many generations.
Lorene was a very active member of her beloved Bedford Baptist Church; whose members were like family to her. She was the first woman to serve as the Chair of the Deacons. She was a children’s Sunday School teacher, led the Girls in Action program and Vacation Bible School for many years, helped with the Children’s choir, and sang in the Senior Adult Choir as well as the Sanctuary Choir. Music, and particularly hymns played a special part in her life over the years and continued to bring her peace and comfort even up until her last days.
She served as an Elections Officer and was the Chief Officer for the City of Bedford Board of Elections, volunteered for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
Among her many accomplishments and commitments, her faith and trust in Jesus was paramount. Lorene lived her faith in the way she persevered through the challenges life brought and in the way she treated others. She was a beautiful role model of an authentic Christian woman who was known for her sweet spirit, kind heart, and love she had for all who knew her. She will be terribly missed and leaves behind many who loved her deeply.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husbands, Alvin Jefferson Smallwood (AJ) and Nelson Carter Johnson, Sr; who both loved and adored her; her son, Nelson Carter Johnson, Jr, (Bobo)and 4 sisters, Nancy Stinnette, Wray Updike, Laura Fariss, and Betty Jean Burford.
She is survived by her children, Robert Smallwood (Katarina),of Geraldton, Australia; Betty Lynn Smallwood Blanks (John) of Lynchburg, VA; Lisa Smallwood Bryant (Steve) of Bedford, VA; 9 grandchildren, Michelle Johnson Barnhart (Cory), of Martinsburg, WV; Jay Johnson, of Morgantown, WV; Dean Johnson, of Richmond, VA; Anne Blanks Worthington (Philip), of Chapel Hill, NC; Taylor Blanks, of Charleston, SC; Andrew Blanks, of Richmond, VA; Graham Blanks of Madison Heights, VA; Jason Bryant (Gina) of Reston, VA, and Shannon Bryant Buchanan (Caleb), of Lynchburg, VA, as well as 11 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Doug Holland, Jr. (Margaret), her sister, Katherine McGhee, sister in law, Mildred Smallwood Daniel, and many loving nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff at Cardinal Senior Living for the excellent care shown to Lorene during her stay.
A funeral service will be held at Bedford Baptist Church on Monday, February 17, 2020 at 11:00 AM with Dr. David Henderson officiating with interment following at Pecks Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Updike Funeral Home, Bedford on Sunday, February 16, 2020 from 3:30 PM until 5:30 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Bedford Baptist Church, 1516 Oakwood St, Bedford, VA 24523, The Alzheimer’s Association, 3831 Old Forest Rd, Suite 7, Lynchburg, VA 24504 or a charity of your choice.
Updike Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Bedford is handling the arrangements.