Jane Smith

Obituary of Jane Smith

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Jane Coe Smith, 74, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, passed away on February 14, 2024, following a stroke. Her family remained by her side through her passing in the peace and respite of the Jim and Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Health Care.


Jane was born to John and Bessie Coe on June 28, 1949, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was a member of Konnoak Hills Moravian Church and graduated from Parkland High School in 1967. Jane attended Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1972.


She was married to Dale Smith on May 19, 1973, and they resided over the years in Pearisburg, VA; Charlotte, NC; Columbia, SC; Rocky Mount, NC; and, since 1985, in Chapel Hill, NC. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Jane is survived by her husband, Dale Smith, of Chapel Hill; her children, Claire (Brad) Lambert of Greensboro, NC, and Andrew (Jennifer) Smith, of Roswell, GA; her sister, Mescal Ann Coe Conrad of Chapel Hill, NC; and her nephew, David (Kathy) Conrad of Holly Springs, NC. Jane was a devoted “Mimi” to her four grandchildren: Henry and Tom Lambert, and Eleni and Connor Smith. She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Bessie Coe, and brother-in-law, Ronald Conrad.


Across more than two decades, Jane made significant professional contributions to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served in the Office of Special Projects, later a division of University Development, and retired in 2014 as Associate Director of University Events. In this capacity, Jane facilitated the installation of multiple chancellors, University Day, Commencement, and events in support of the Boards of Governors, Trustees, and Visitors. Jane played a central role in orchestrating the Chancellor’s Box ticketing and seating for an untold number of UNC football and basketball games that filled her evenings and weekends throughout her career. She shaped the experiences of the university’s donors and political supporters with her deep knowledge of the most advantageous seating in the box. Her meticulous memory for details told her which guests to seat together and which guests to keep at a distance as she worked the puzzle of the Chancellor’s Box before each game. These countless events fostered the bond of alumni, community members, donors, faculty, staff, and students to Carolina. Jane took great pride in the many young women she mentored and celebrated their achievements, both professional and personal. In 2009, Jane was honored with the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the university. Additionally, Jane was an active member of the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO) and served a term as president in 2010.


Jane’s interests included decorative arts and craftsmanship, North Carolina people and places, and cultural events in the Chapel Hill community. She was devoted to her family and friends and held a genuine interest in learning and sharing the everyday details of the lives of those around her. She had a talent for remembering names and stories, and often deployed her quick wit and wry commentary in her retelling. Travel energized Jane, from taking a simple beach weekend to hosting a UNC General Alumni Association trip to China. Jane and Dale enjoyed visiting cities across North America for annual NAACO conferences. Jane loved watching her grandchildren grow up, cheering for the Tar Heels, and relaxing with a cup of hot tea.


The family will host a celebration of life on the UNC campus at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center, a space where Jane planned and hosted many events over the years. A service of remembrance at Jane’s home church, Konnoak Hills Moravian, and interment of her ashes will follow at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a gift to TABLE, or a non-profit of your choice. TABLE's mission is to deliver healthy food and nutrition education to children in Orange County, To make a donation, please visit www.tablenc.org and select "dedicate my donation in honor or memory of someone."

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