Nell Stapleton Smith Lutz
Nell Stapleton Smith Lutz died on October 28, 2019, at Limestone Health Facility. She was born in Dothan, Alabama, on November 29, 1921, to Mr. and Mrs. George W. Smith.
Nell grew up in Marianna, Florida, where she made many cherished lifelong friends. She attended Marianna High School, graduating as valedictorian of the Class of 1939. She graduated from Florida State College for Women (FSCW) in 1943.
During her senior year in college, she decided to join the WAVES during World War II. She was sworn into the Naval Reserve in July 1943 and reported for duty in Northampton, Massachusetts. Upon completion of Supply School, she was sent to Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, and promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.) on January 9, 1945. She served at the Navy yard until April 15, 1945, when she received orders to report to Glynco, Georgia, where she served as disbursing officer until November of the same year.
It was in Portsmouth, Virginia, where she met her future husband, Frank Lutz, on a Navy bus. They enjoyed many hikes and canoe trips in the Dismal Swamp in Virginia.
Nell and Frank married in 1945 and moved to Millville, New Jersey. They moved to Athens, Alabama, in 1952 when Frank took a position at Chemstrand Corp. Nell adored living in Athens. Having been told she would become a true Athenian after wearing out a pair of shoes, she ended up wearing out dozens of pairs of shoes.
Aside from raising their three children, Nell was involved in church and community activities. She also had many other interests. Foremost of these was her love of fishing, especially on the Elk River, where she was called the Elk River Queen. Nell also enjoyed cooking, playing bridge, sewing, substitute teaching and corresponding with friends all over the world via email. She had a passion for sharing food made from family recipes and small gifts with friends across the community.
Nell was honored to receive the DAR Community Service Award. She was also honored by the Alabama Veterans Museum at their first celebration of Women's History Month. She and Frank served as the Honorary Grand Marshals of the Veterans Day Parade in 2010. Participating in the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2009 was another highlight of her life.
Nell was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Frank; and her grandson, Drew Whitten.
She is survived by Dr. Frank Brobson Lutz Jr. (New Orleans, Louisiana), Tom and Beverly Lutz (Mt Juliet, Tennessee), and David and Ruth Whitten (Athens, Alabama).
She is also survived by a granddaughter, Carley (Patrick) English (Auburn, Alabama); and grandsons, Philip (Natalie) Lutz (Mt. Juliet, Tennessee), Dave (Kanthi) Whitten (Huntsville, Alabama), and Daniel (Kate) Whitten (Madison, Alabama). She is also survived by seven great-grandchildren with one on the way.
A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov 1, at First Presbyterian Church of Athens. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church or to the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives.
Published on October 30, 2019


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Jaimee mccluskey
Oct 30, 2019
I worked for her although we became great friends. I would go to her house do what she needed done exactly how she asked me to do it because she was very particular.. I'll never forget when she asked me if I could turn down beds I'd never heard of that term before although I was 20 at the time. She even let me bring my daughter a few times she sure loved her. I'll always remeber her teaching me exactly how she liked things done and making me cookies to take home to my daughter and husband. Ms. Nel is what I called her when really she was more to me than that she was like a grandmother to me. I'm privileged to have met and spent time with her!