New Bern artist Audrey Askew Smith, whose art and grace charmed Eastern North Carolina for almost five decades, passed away Friday, September 11, 2015.

New Bern artist Audrey Askew Smith, whose art and grace charmed Eastern North Carolina for almost five decades, passed away Friday, September 11, 2015. She was 84. Known for her passion for color and ability to work in a variety of mediums, Miss Audrey’s creations are treasured by artists and art-lovers alike. We will all miss her panache, flair, and zest for life.

Born October 20, 1930 in Comanche County, Oklahoma, Miss Audrey’s life journey included a pet prairie dog, work in the cotton fields, lots of sisters and one “ornery” brother, moves to Texas, and marriage to a handsome Marine who transported her to the East Coast and life as a military wife and mother of four. Cherry Point was the final duty station, where they made their permanent home, and where Miss Audrey found artistic inspiration.

Miss Audrey was a Renaissance woman. Not only was she an accomplished artist, she was also a gifted storyteller and writer. Her colorful tales of childhood ventures in her native Oklahoma during and after the dustbowl could be at once humorous and poignant. Her children’s stories were, like the woman herself, witty and fun-loving, lively, entertaining, and touching. She sang, played piano by ear, loved to fish, read voluminously, and even went with her daughter to shag dancing.

Miss Audrey leaves many lasting legacies. She introduced countless students to the exciting world of art through the classes she taught at Craven Community College for the Council on Aging, and in private lessons. Over thirty years ago, she co-founded the “Touch of Class,” Havelock’s annual art show. Her vision created not only a venue for established artists, but it also provided a platform to encourage new artists to exhibit. Miss Audrey’s own art has been acknowledged publicly since 1982, with such honors as recognition by the Bank of the Arts; Artist of the Month for Carteret General Hospital, Cherry Point Federal Credit Union, First Citizen’s Bank, and New Bern-Craven Public Library. Her work has also been featured in many private exhibitions and Audrey Smith originals and prints hang in private collections around the country. In 2009, her design was selected to represent the official First Night Celebration for New Bern’s 300th Anniversary. She has held offices and memberships in the Craven Arts Council and the Twin Rivers Art Association.

Miss Audrey was preceded in death by her parents, William H. and Lula Daniel Askew, her husband of 65 years, Joe L. Smith; her son, William Joel Smith, and six sisters and one brother. She is survived by her sister, Mary Lou Askew Doye of Lawton, Oklahoma; three daughters: Connie Killebrew, of New Bern, Jodi Tomboulian, of New Bern, and Jane Styron, of Morehead City; seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

A memorial service to celebrate the amazing life of Audrey Askew Smith will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, New Bern on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., with Rev. Charlene Pierce Guider officiating. A reception will follow at the church.

Arrangements are by Pollock-Best of New Bern. Online condolences may be made to the family at

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