Sylvia Smith Lankford was born August 18, 1940, to Elbert Monroe ‘Shorty’ and Vera Cash Smith of Angier, NC, who later became life-long residents of Hillsborough, NC. Sylvia was the first of seven children. She was predeceased by her brother Paul Smith; and survived by Paul’s wife Margaret of Locust Grove, VA; brother David Smith and wife Gloria of Mechanicsville, VA; sister Mary Sidle of Morristown, NJ; brother Jerry Smith and wife Gail of Hillsborough, NC; sister Terry Gibb and husband Bob of Hillsborough, NC; brother Kip Smith and wife Stephanie of Hillsborough, NC. Sylvia married her husband Charles Reid Lankford on December 6, 1958, and they were blessed to spend 62 years together in a lifetime of love, caring, and partnership. Together they raised three surviving children and one treasured grandchild: son Reid Lankford and wife Beverly of Durham, NC; son Mark Lankford, wife Melissa, and granddaughter Sarah of Rougemont, NC; and daughter Anna Lankford of Durham, NC.
Small in stature, yet a source of strength, Sylvia lived a full life surrounded by her wide circle of family, sharing in the love of many siblings and in time, building a family of her own. She loved motherhood and enjoyed her children up to her final days. As “Grammie” to her granddaughter Sarah, she made her feel cared for in her own special way. She encouraged Sarah to embrace and not fear school, and to that end, Sarah plans to become a teacher. In her passing, Sylvia was described by her family as ‘genuinely kind, with a quick grin, a twinkle in her eye, a laugh on her lips, and full of grace’ – as a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.
Sylvia graduated from Aycock High School in Cedar Grove, NC. She was an accomplished learner and avid reader as evidenced by her worn out library card. She built a career working her way through a facet of roles specializing in Telecommunications, completing her 32-year career with Lucent Technology in Greensboro, NC. She was a member of Efland United Methodist Church for the span of her adult life and remained faithful to the church for many years. Her greatest joy in life was in being with her family and she treasured those times of togetherness, laughter, and fun.
A Family Visitation followed by a Graveside Service is planned as follows:
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 beginning at 1:00 pm
Efland United Methodist Church, 3418 US 70, Efland, NC 27243
In lieu of flowers, donations in her name are requested to:
Carolina Dialysis, 105 Renee Lynne Ct., Carrboro, NC 27510
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