Cover photo for Regina R. Smithson's Obituary
Regina R. Smithson Profile Photo
1943 Regina 2022

Regina R. Smithson

November 27, 1943 — July 23, 2022


Regina Ratcliff Smithson passed away in her home on July 23, 2022.  Born in November 1943, she was 78 years old.  Regina is preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, John L. Smithson Jr.  She is survived by her three children, Kimberly S. Gawrys (Steve), J. Laird Smithson III (Sydney), Cynthia S. Shelden (Hunter), 11 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, 6 siblings, and many nieces and nephews.

John was known for saying:  "My greatest ambition is to live the life of my wife".  Indeed, Regina Smithson lived an incredible life. She was one of 12 children and the daughter of Marion and Nellie Ratcliff. As a child, she grew up with a strong work ethic helping her family pick cotton after school on their Rayville, Louisiana farm.  She never forgot her humble beginnings, which helped her develop a strong drive for success.  Regina and John built a successful business in Huntsville, AL, and Nashville, TN. Together, they found people who shared the same dream of success and then helped them achieve it. John was often quoted as saying: "I was only half a man until I married Regina, and then I became a man and a half".

Regina was a dedicated mother to her three children volunteering her time in church and school activities. She loved the City of Brentwood and poured her heart into it.  She was involved in the community serving on the Brentwood City Commission for over 30 years. She served in many capacities including Mayor of Brentwood twice. Her service to the community helped shape Brentwood into the great city it is today.

Regina valued her many friends and was fiercely loyal.  She never met a stranger. She had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. She was an example of grace, class, strength, perseverance, and always stood firm on her principles. She was able to see the "big picture" which helped her navigate the obstacles of life. She was opinionated and an excellent listener known for self-reflection.  When she was wrong, she would find a way to make it right.

She was a devoted Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, public servant, and friend.  “We will miss her” is an understatement but we find peace in knowing she is reunited with John in Heaven. While our loss is great, her legacy will continue in ways that are impossible to quantify.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s at

A public visitation will be held at 9:30 am on Saturday, August 6, 2022, followed by a private funeral service at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home at 9090 Hwy 100, Nashville, TN 27066.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Regina R. Smithson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, August 6, 2022

9:30 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Harpeth Hills Funeral Home & Cremation Center

9090 TN-100, Nashville, TN 37221

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