Official Obituary of

Mary Kate Smith

November 28, 1952 ~ March 2, 2024 (age 71) 71 Years Old

Mary Smith Obituary

Mary Kate Smith, beloved wife, daughter, friend, and Esquire, accomplished professional, passed away on March 2, 2024, at 71. She was born to her loving parents, Ralph and Virginia Waller, on November 28, 1952, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mary Kate was an academician in every respect.  Her journey began in Memphis, where she grew up surrounded by the vibrant culture of Tennessee. She graduated early from Nicholas Blackwell High School in 1969 at the top of her class, laying the foundation for her future academic achievements. She continued her education at Memphis State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and speech and graduating in August 1972 cum laude, again finishing early. Kate's thirst for knowledge led her to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence, graduating early at the top of the class.  She was admitted into the Tennessee Bar on September 12, 2002,

She attended Nashville State Technical Institute, where she furthered her studies. She was selected for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Training program and earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in computer Forensic Science (criminalistics) and computer programming. She finished her formal education at John A. Gupton College, earning a Funeral Service/Mortuary Science degree. Upon graduation in 2009, she served as an Adjunct Professor specializing in Mortuary Business Law and the Psychology of Grief.

In the realm of employment, Mary Kate excelled in diverse roles that showcased her intellect and dedication. From her time as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Knoxville to her tenure as a Staff Attorney with the Social Security Administration, she left an indelible mark on all those she worked with. Her commitment to justice and service shone brightly during her years as a Special Agent and Staff Attorney at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, where she brought compassion and integrity to every case she handled. She was a staunch advocate of the Tennessee Supreme Court.  Mary Kate's professionalism extended beyond her legal career, as she proudly represented her alma mater, Memphis State University, University of Tennessee, and John A. Gupton College, as an Alumnae Representative.

Mary Kate and her loving husband Clay were married April 23, 1993.   Clay was born June 27, 1954, in Lebanon, Tennessee. Clay was a mechanic, but he was more than an average mechanic. He worked on and restored Music City classic cars that Nashville Country Music Stars owned. Mary Kate and Clay became close friends with “Music City” icon Mr. Porter Wagoner and his family.   Clay and Mary Kate were a perfect couple with common interests, including classic cars, assembling computers, and, in general, techies because of their love for “all-things” mechanical.  Date nights included rebuilding car engines, bodywork, adjusting carburetors, and dining on pizza.

In addition to her professional and academic pursuits and hobbies, Mary Kate earned her Commercial Driver's License through an accredited driving academy. Mary Kate and Clay dreamed about touring the United States as a husband-and-wife trucking team. Mary Kate was a dog lover—all dogs!  She was a member of the American Kennel Club and on the show circuit with her favorite dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Sasha.  Mary-Kate and Clay were devoted fans of the University of Tennessee and cheered on their team with unwavering passion.  It was common for her to Scream “Go Vols” on football Saturdays.  Mary Kate's warm smile, sharp mind, intelligence, and compassionate heart will be deeply missed by all who knew her. She always searched for academic enlightenment, read continuously, and loved spirited debates. She translated many scriptures written in Latin into English for a deeper understanding of God’s word.  She loved the Lord and had no fear of passing.  She leaves a legacy of love, dedication, and service that will continue to inspire those she touched in her lifetime.

Mary Kate and Clay’s lives will be celebrated on Saturday, March 30, 2024, at Hazel Green Funeral Home, U.S. 231, Hazel Green, Alabama. Public visitation will be from 10:00 to 11:30, and the service will begin at 11:30.  Following the service, all are invited to attend internments at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens, Tullahoma Tennessee, and with hors d'oeuvres and drinks served at a venue in Tullahoma Tennessee.

In her memory, let us honor her by carrying forward the values of kindness, perseverance, and love that defined her remarkable life.

Mary Kate Smith is survived by her loving family and friends: Donna and William Harmon from Manchester, TN, and sons Trent and Diane Harmon and Greg and Haley Harmon; Dale and Debbie Waller and children Mary Louise (Waller) and Cody Wesson, and Michael Waller, all from Talladega, AL; Theresa and “Bucky” Henry H. Waller III and their children Gentry E. Waller, Daniel and Andrea Toomey, Samantha and Cordell Taylor all from New Market, AL.

In honor of her life and love for dogs, the family kindly asks that donations be sent to a local animal shelter in her name instead of flowers.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Kate Smith, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Mary Kate Smith?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Mary's memory.


Receiving Friends
March 30, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Hazel Green Funeral Home
13921 Hwy 231-431 N
Hazel Green, AL 35750

Celebration of Life
March 30, 2024

11:30 AM
Hazel Green Funeral Home
13921 Hwy 231-431 N
Hazel Green, AL 35750


© 2024 Hazel Green Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility