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Beasley-Wood/Billingsly Funeral Home

611 Janssen Avenue, P.O. Box 317, Mena, AR

Phone: 479-394-1310

Jennifer "J.J." Smith-Samuels

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Published: February 14, 2013

Jennifer "J.J." Smith- Samuels, age 41, of Springdale, Arkansas, passed away Monday, February 11, 2013 at her home of a massive heart attack.

She was born November 24, 1971 in Ukiah, California to Harold Lee Smith and Brenda Gay Vaught Smith. She was united in marriage to Brian Samuels on December 31, 2003. She graduated from Mena High School in 1990 and went on to get her Bachelors of Science in Speech Pathology in 1994 and then her Masters of Science in Early Childhood Development in 1996 at the University of Central Arkansas. She was a member of the National Honor Society and Who's Who in American High School Students, and was awarded the International Science and Engineering Awards in Pittsburg in 1989 and in Oklahoma City in 1990. She won 8 Arkansas Science and Engineering Awards from 1988 thru 1990 and was Ms. Congeniality in the 1989 Miss Polk County Pageant.

She worked for Northwest Arkansas Education Coop from 1996 until 2011 as an Early Child Development Specialist and was a member of the Washington County Humane Society, the National Humane Society, Western Arkansas Childhood Development Association, and the National Association of Early Childhood Development. J.J. wrote a national award winning essay on working with children with Spina Bifada, a condition she was also afflicted with, enabling her to win scholarships at UCA.

J.J was baptized by the late Brother Dillard Miller at Mena First Baptist Church at the age of 11 and was baptized by the late Brother Gaylon Cope at Mena First United Methodist Church at age 30. Her deepest passion was her love of cats, and the love of her life, her Maine Coon, Siamese mix, Coty was her devoted friend until his passing in July of 2012. He will be interred with her.

She is survived by her husband, Brian Samuels of Springdale, Arkansas, her parents, Harold and Brenda Smith of Mena, Arkansas, and several cousins and many friends. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, J.C. and Allyn June Vaught and by her paternal grandparents, J.O. and Irene Smith and by her god-parents, Eddie and Deedie Johnson.

Funeral services will be Friday, February 15, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the First Methodist Church in Mena with Brother Gary Harrison and Brother O.J. Smith officiating. Susanna Mosley will deliver the eulogy. Interment follows in Pinecrest Memorial Gardens under the direction of the Beasley-Wood Funeral Home. Visitation will be general.

Pallbearers will be Patrick McDaniel, Danny Thrailkill, Doug Langham, Matt Hunter, Brandon Martin, and Joe Bunch. Honorary pallbearers will be Doug Hunter, Brian Bunch, Jake Bunch, Chris Oglesby, Tate Oglesby, and Bruce Hoover.

Online obituary available at

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