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Obituary of Edna Opal Brooks
Edna Opal Stapleton Smith Brooks, 87, of Doniphan, died Saturday, May 16, 2020, at Westwood Hills Nursing Center in Poplar Bluff. She was a longtime Doniphan resident and retired from Vitronic Inc. after 34 years. On March 31, 1933, Edna was the ninth of 10 children born to May Belle (Wheeler) and Isiah ‘Zer’ Stapleton at St. Charles in Lee County, Va. Her father was a coal miner and World War I veteran. At age 6, Edna’s mother died leaving her and a sister, Doris, to be raised by their older sisters, Bonnie, Geneva and Lounette. Among her fondest childhood memories was attending the Baptist Goodwill Center. For many years, she enjoyed being active in church and was a charter member of Memorial Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff and later joined Center Hill Baptist Church after moving to Ripley County in 1965. In her younger days, she taught youth Sunday School classes and directed Vacation Bible School. At age 16, Edna left high school due to financial hardships despite being an outstanding student. She moved to the Quad Cities in Illinois to be with her brother Bernard. She found a job at the Del Rio Café in Moline, located between two large factories - John Deere and International Harvester. It was there she met Howard Carlton Smith from Doniphan Mo., who worked at John Deere. They were married June 26, 1953, at Pocahontas, Ark., and moved to Missouri from Illinois a few years later, first living in Poplar Bluff before returning to Ripley County. Howard died March 10, 1985. On June 26, 1993, she married Phillip A. Brooks at Fairdealing. They enjoyed many happy years. He died Aug. 20, 2012. As her son entered college in the late 1970s, Edna surprised her family and began taking adult basic education classes in Doniphan. She earned her high school general equivalency diploma with flying colors. Surviving are one daughter, Cathy Turner, Fairdealing; one son, Ronald Howard Smith, Fairdealing; two grandsons, Neil Phillip Turner, Fairdealing, and Kerey Ryan Smith, Poplar Bluff; two great-grandchildren, Easton Phillip Turner and Maylee Grace Turner; and one sister, Doris Ann York of Michigan; along with many other relatives and friends. Preceding her in death were a granddaughter, Merinda Catherine Turner; a son-in-law, Ronny Phillip Turner; four brothers, Charles, Ralph, Bernard and Billy Ray; and four sisters, Lounette, Geneva, Bonnie and Edith. Throughout her life, Edna was proud of her Appalachian roots as a coal miner’s daughter. Those memories were among her last as her struggle with dementia came to an end. A graveside service was held at Center Hill Cemetery with Donnie Emmons officiating. Edwards Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.