Updated Obituary with Service information
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Ninita “Nita” Barkman Smith, 93, of Westminster, died on December 28, 2020 at Brightview Westminster Ridge.
She was born on August 29, 1927 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late J. Edgar and Ninita Denton Barkman and sister of the late Denton Barkman and Marjorie Moffett. She was the devoted wife of Jeffrey “Jeff” Bordeaux Smith, who preceded her in death in 2017.
Ninita and Jeff were married for 68 years after meeting at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel), where she was affectionately known as “Barkie.” She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, teaching school for several years while Jeff attended law school. Together they had five children, Rev. Jennifer Brooks of Manhasset, New York; Holly Smith-Berry of Fulton, Missouri; Wendy Phillips (and husband, Steve) of Pikesville; Jeffrey B. Smith, Jr. (and wife, Katherine) of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania; and Julie Peatt Cassaday (and husband, Jerry Cassaday) of Westminster. She was “Nini” to ten grandchildren, Jessica, Kelly, Madison, Jamie, Elizabeth, Andrew, Emma, Kevin, Denton, and Megan: and three great-grandchildren, Waverly, Christopher, and Neilson. All survive her.
She was a beloved member of Milford Mill United Methodist Church, serving on committees and developing themes for various programs. Her greatest legacy there was researching and writing an award-winning history of the church’s first fifty years, published in 2003.
Ninita and her family lived in Sudbrook Park, in Pikesville, for more than half a century in a home built in 1895, which the couple named “Tanglewood”; its constant restoration was a labor of love. She tackled much of the redecorating herself—painting, wallpapering, and stripping mahogany stain to reveal the natural beauty of the home’s original oak woodwork. She was a gifted cook and gracious hostess, well-known for her lavish parties (in addition to tens of thousands of nutritious school lunches she lovingly prepared for her children).
She especially enjoyed writing letters, poems, and stories; she documented ancestral histories and dozens of adventures she and Jeff shared (from Cornwall, England to Alaska and points in between), which she self-published as keepsakes for her children and grandchildren.
She and Jeff maintained lifelong friendships with their Western Maryland “gang” of collegiates. They enjoyed watching each other's families grow up and vacationing together at the Delaware shore, not far from Avalon, New Jersey, where Ninita spent summers as a youth and would return many times throughout her life. She loved the ocean.
In 2010, she moved with Jeff to Fairhaven in Sykesville, where she contributed stories for The Inkling literary quarterly, made friends, and enjoyed her cottage with its towering hemlocks, garden, birds, and wildlife—so reminiscent of Tanglewood.
During the last years of her life, she took a keen interest in the lives of her many caregivers and expressed gratitude to each individual for their acts of kindness. Ninita’s generosity of spirit, way with words, easy laugh, and beautiful smile were a blessing to all who knew her.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the memory of both our parents for the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer's Team Tanglewood online at
http://act.alz.org/goto/teamtanglewood, or by check payable to the Alzheimer's Association and mailed to: Team Tanglewood, 87 Bond Street, Westminster, MD 21157
A celebration of Ninita’s life will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Milford Mill United Methodist Church 915 Milford Mill Road Pikesville, MD 21208.
Arrangements made by: Burrier-Queen Funeral Home & Crematory, PA., Sykesville, MD online condolences to www.burrier-queen.com