Julia Benedict Smith Booth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oct. 29, 1906 – July 13, 2012

FERRIDAY — Julia Benedict Smith Booth, 105, died peacefully Friday, July 13, 2012, at Magnolia House in Natchez.

Honoring her request for cremation service, arrangements are under the direction Comer Funeral Home in Ferriday.

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Mrs. Booth was born Oct. 29, 1906, in Roxbury, Conn., the daughter of Lincoln Charles Smith and Susan Hatch Pierce Smith.

She was a 1932 graduate of the acclaimed Philadelphia School of Design where she garnered the Avis Vaughn European Scholarship for a year of painting abroad after her four years at the school. Her travels took her to Spain, Greece, Turkey and other parts of the Mediterranean, culminating with three months in Egypt, a 500-mile trip up the Nile, and an individual show of her work in Cairo.

She later made a number of independent tours of Europe studying medieval religious art, followed by two solo trips around the world, writing and lecturing on her experiences as an independent budget traveler. She was a longtime member of the National League of American Pen Women.

Her oil paintings were featured in various exhibits and individual shows in New England and New York. During the mid-1950s, two of her paintings were exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris as part of an American Pen Women exhibit. On Feb. 2, 1958, the Bridgeport, Conn., Sunday Herald Magazine featured one of her painting as its front cover and did a two-page interior spread on her life and work.

On Oct. 14, 1933, she married Raymond Seeley Booth to whom she remained happily married for 72 years until his death at age 100 in 2006. Before moving to Natchez in 2002, Raymond and Julia Booth spent 35 years in retirement in Phoenix, Ariz., finding refuge during the colder months each year in Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, or American or Western Samoa where Julia prolifically recorded local scenes and landscapes in watercolor.

Julia was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; four brothers, Everett Lincoln Smith, Frank Pierce Smith, Charles Kirtland Smith and Truman Smith; and three sisters, Elizabeth Van Ness Smith Cowles, Elsie Ruth Smith Hurlburt and Susan Pierce Smith Pearson.

Survivors include one son, Gregory Seeley Booth and wife, Shirley, of Concordia Parish; one daughter, Mariette Seeley Booth Ruppert of Seneca, S.C.; three grandsons, Roger Booth Vogel and wife, Frances Marie Shinholser Vogel, of Tucker, Ga., Ryan Seeley Booth of Baton Rouge and Capt. Scott Seeley Booth, USMC, and wife, Dr. Allison Ann Shipp Booth, of Meridian; two granddaughters, Ashley Craig Booth Chamberlin and husband, Christopher Alan Chamberlin, of Ridgeland and Lori Craig Booth of Baton Rouge; three great-grandsons, Booth Davis Vogel, Avery Reed Vogel and Daniel Jackson Farr Chamberlin; and six great-granddaughters, Flora Jane Vogel, Grace Elaine Booth, Katherine Ward Benedict Chamberlin, Elizabeth Craig Booth Chamberlin, Rachel Devereaux Byrne Chamberlin and Caroline Demasene Pierce Chamberlin; and one brother, William Blakeman Smith of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.