Grace Yael Smith of Plano, Texas passed away on Friday, June 5, 2020 at the age of 24.
Grace was born on December 14, 1995, in Summit, New Jersey, to Susan Duggan Smith and Paul Smith. She was the second of five children. She grew up in Edison and then Basking Ridge, NJ, and moved to Plano, TX with her family in 2018.
She was homeschooled through eighth grade and then graduated from Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ. Afterwards she attended Gordon University in Massachusetts for some time. After moving to Texas, she attended University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where she studied music.
Grace was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, resulting in her being visually impaired. She was determined not to let it keep her back. She participated in the Leadership at Washington (LAW) program of the National Federation of the Blind where she advocated before her congressman about ensuring that technology remains accessible and that electric cars have audible components so that they can be heard by pedestrians.
She was always involved in singing groups. In high school, she participated even as a freshman in the award-winning A Cappella group at Ridge High School. She sang in the choir at Gordon and most recently was studying to be a music coach at UTD. She loved singing technical choir pieces, Broadway tunes, and especially hymns during Sunday church services.
At the end of high school, Grace won an award from the Ridge High School Alumni association for her essay about overcoming adversity. She used the proceeds to travel to Germany so she could experience first-hand many of the places she had learned about in previous studies of the German language.
Grace was incredibly bright and did not just write stories but built worlds in words. She loved fantasy literature, role-playing games like D&D, and creative life and world simulation video games like Sims and Minecraft. Recently she had spent hours with her dad and brothers in a Minecraft realm built by her brother Justus.
She made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as her savior when she was about 12. She loved God and attended church regularly throughout her life. Several notebooks are full of her notes from the sermons she heard week by week. At each church she attended, people were moved by her faith and her knowledge of God and His Word.
Grace will probably best be remembered by so many for three things: her unwavering love of God, her unconditional love for others, and her beautiful voice.
She is survived by her parents, Paul and Susan; older sister, Emma; younger sister, Gloria; two younger brothers, Justus and Benjamin; her grandmother, Susan Duggan; her grandparents Benjamin and Nancy Smith; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Funeral service to be held Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at 2:30 PM (CST) at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Faith Chapel, 6801 West Park Blvd, Plano, TX. It will be streamed via Facebook. Due to COVID 19 restrictions there will be no viewing, no graveside service, and no reception.
Flowers may be sent to the church at the address above, with “Funeral for Grace Smith” indicated. Donations, if desired, may be made to the Colorado Center for the Blind. A memorial link will be posted soon.
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