Debbie Smith

Debbie Smith

Death 21 May 2003 (aged 49)
Branson, Taney County, Missouri, USA
Burial Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Memorial ID 89563394 · View Source
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This grave is UN-marked.

Debbie's bio is a work in progress.

Deborah Lou Smith was called "Debbie" all her life. She was born 19 May 1954 in Britton, Oklahoma to Jack Lee Smith and Marcile E. 'Durnal' Smith.

Jack Lee Smith was born in Oklahoma, was a Mason and member of the Britton Lodge in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, his family roots are from that area. He married Marcile E. Durnal the 21st of July 1953 in Faulkner County, Arkansas. Her family was from Lonoke County, Arkansas.

The late 1950s saw the young family residing in the Baton Rogue, Louisiana area. Her father was said to have been involved in the development of an underwater power plant for the military. During their stint there, records describe a lawsuit brought by Jack L Smith, Allstate Insurance and Mrs Marcile Smith vs Clyde C. Lee, Sr for $1,654.75 as the result of an accident there 8 June 1959 along La. Hwy 1 in Port Allen in which damage occurred to petitioner's car and injuries to a minor daughter.

Not long after the family moved to California. Debbie was raised in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area of Southern California from the age of eight representing California in her first noted beauty contest. At nine years of age, she won the first "Our Little Miss World" pageant held in New Orleans, Louisiana at Roosevelt Hotel in 1963 (48 participants from 22 states). As winner she was given a $1,000 prize trip to New York and Washington D.C., where she was presented at the Congressional Ball. Being the Original winner was important and saw her represent the pageant several times in the future as a guest star.

Tragedy struck in September of 1965 when her father a structural steel engineer, died from a massive heart attack. The family was living in Downey, California at the time of his death. His body was brought back to Little Rock and interred in Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery. A military marker denotes his service in the US Navy.

Debbie was eleven yrs old at the time of his death. She and her mother, Marcile remained in Hollywood, California after his passing pursuing her career there. Officials running the 1967 "Our Little Miss World" pageant asked Debbie as the First World winner, now a Hollywood starlet working for Walt Disney Studios to appear as a guest star on the Television pilot via closed circuit Television.

Debbie was signed by Disney Studios and appeared in a feature role as "Lulu Bower" one of the daughters in the Disney musical "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" alongside stars Walter Brennan, Buddy Ebsen, Janet Blair, Wally Cox, John Davidson, Lesley Ann Warren, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. The movie was released in 1968 and several songs were featured on the Wonderful World of Disney telecast on a Sunday evening in 1971 and is currently available on DVD. The film is Debbie's only real movie studio credit contrary to online postings elsewhere. A family member says Walt Disney had selected Debbie to be a future Mousketeer, but his death of lung cancer in in late 1966 left the decision open to others who changed the plans. His death also resulted in decisions to exclude some of the songs from the movie.

She made several appearances on the sitcom, Room 222 as a classmate during it's first season. Uncredited roles.

During this time she was attending high school at North Hollywood High. A classmate provided the picture of her from that final year there in 1970.

She and her mother moved from Hollywood to the small Arkansas town of Cabot over the Christmas break and she began classes in January of 1971. Debbie attended classes the latter half of her Junior year at Cabot High School. There they lived in a small home located at the corner of Myrtle and South Grant.

During the Summer of 1971 her Hollywood days took center stage for a brief while as the Disney Movie was telecast on The Wonderful World of Disney and she once again appeared as a guest star on a Nationally syndicated telecast of the "Our Little Miss World" pageant in Miami Beach, Florida at Fontainebleu Hotel. The pageant had grown to 256 participants from 39 states, 21 major cities, 4 foreign countries.

Despite her stated plans to remain in Cabot, she and her mother returned to her father's old stomping grounds and the place of her birth, Oklahoma City later in the Summer of 1971. There they lived on North Indiana Avenue and she attended her senior year of high school there at a school yet to be determined.

She had a brief 3 month marriage to "unknown" in 1974.

She never married again.

She attended college in Oklahoma City. One reason for the return to Oklahoma may have been her Native American bloodline which came from both her mother and father's family lines. This enabled her to receive financial aid for Higher education. Her obituary states that she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in nursing. Personally, I recall her attending the Oklahoma City University. Her plans were to become a Veterinarian.

At some point in the mid-1970s they returned to the Central Arkansas area living in Little Rock. They utilized the aid that Marcile's brother was able to give them having no male in the home. He was of great help when it came to vehicles and the like. Debbie had repeatedly told me that her Uncle Lloyd was her "surrogate father" after she lost her dad early. She loved him dearly. Lloyd passed away in March of 1987. Real estate records show that her mother sold property in Oklahoma City (the Montclair Addition) in July of 1986. Two homes in the Geyer Springs Road area of Little Rock were purchased in Debbie's name; one on Westminister Drive and one on Dickens Lane. While living in Little Rock her obit says she worked as a critical care nurse at Arkansas Children's Hospital, this has been discovered to have been inaccurate, Debbie worked at Arkansas Children's Hospital as a clerk running records. Debbie also worked a while for a heat and air company in the Geyer Springs road area.

Single and depending heavily on her mother as she always had to guide her tragedy struck again. In the mid-1990s Marcile was diagnosed with a disease that runs in her family, Alzhiemer's. So a decision had to be made since there were no siblings nor a spouse to aid them with the impending care load. The homes were sold in 1995 and they moved to the Branson, Missouri area. The reason that Branson was her choice as a final destination is an assumption that is in dispute. A small home in the suburb of Hollister on Acacia Club Road road was purchased as her mother went into a nearby institution for care. Here Debbie lived her final years while working for several area resorts.

The Our Little Miss World pageant held their 1998-1999-2000 competitions in Branson at the Lodge of the Ozarks/Roy Clark Theater. Debbie's involvement is not confirmed but makes sense.

Marcile E. Durnal Smith died in September of 2002 of complications of Alzhiemer's and Debbie arranged for her burial alongside Jack Lee Smith in Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.

Debbie did not live long without her mother. She passed less than eight months later due to "matters of the heart" at the Skaggs Community Health Center in Branson on 21 May 2003. This was two days past her forty-ninth birthday. Alone with no family in the area and presumably estranged from the remainder of her extended family, she Willed her entire estate to two young boys whose family had been close friends. Her body lay at the funeral home in Branson for over a week while next of kin was sought. She was buried 2 June 2003 in Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Despite the lack of a close family, the June 10th, 2003 addition of the local newspaper, The Branson Tri-Lakes News carried an obituary announcing that her friends in Branson had arranged a memorial service which was held for Deborah "Debbie" Lou Smith at 7 pm Monday, 16 June 2003 at the large First Baptist Church in Branson with the Rev. Paul Yarnall officiating.

She is survived by a few cousins. She had many loving friends who are more than likely unaware of the shortness of her life or her location at this time.

Her beautiful smile will be forever missed by those who knew her.

She shall not be forgotten...
Thanks for sharing your beautiful smile with me and for simply being you. I am sorry. I never forgot you and yes,
I always loved ya.

Family Members



Debbie is in an UN-marked grave.

  • Created by: Ray
  • Added: 4 May 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 89563394
  • Ray
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Debbie Smith (19 May 1954–21 May 2003), Find a Grave Memorial no. 89563394, citing Roselawn Memorial Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA ; Maintained by Ray (contributor 47097406) .