Pink Carnations

Mary B Smith

July 9, 1934 ~ March 1, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old


Mary Bonnett Smith embarked on her final journey on March 1, 2024, surrounded by her loved ones at her home in Hemet, California.

A native of Riverside, Mary was born to William Henry Bonnett and Doris Moulton Bonnett. As a granddaughter of the great migration west, her family came to Riverside in the late 1800’s and became pioneers of Southern California’s rich citrus industry.

Mary attended Lowell Elementary, Central Junior High, and Poly High Schools. She attended the University of Colorado until meeting the father of her children.

She raised her four children on cattle and racing quarter horse ranches in Valley Center and Sage, California. Among her beloved horses was the esteemed legendary World Champion, Joe Sherry.

Her vibrant spirit extended beyond the range. Mary was an avid golfer, proudly serving as the president of the Ladies Golf Club at Gilman Hot Springs.

Mary's adventurous soul found solace in sailing, both on boats and land yachts. It was during this time that she met her lifelong partner, Benny J. Smith, also from Riverside. They enjoyed fishing, crabbing, and clamming along the shores from Alaska to Baja and beyond. Together with their dogs, they explored the vast landscapes of the Western United States, indulging in camping adventures and creating cherished memories.

Mary delighted in supporting her children and grandchildren’s sports events and FFA gatherings. She loved the color blue, reveled in Easter traditions like hiding eggs for her grandchildren, and found joy in watching ducks on her pond.

Mary also had a successful career as a real estate broker and was actively involved in community organizations such as the Eagles, Elks, and Sportsman's Club.

Mary Bonnett Smith was predeceased by her son Steven LaRue, granddaughter Brandy VerSteeg, grandsons Tory Mayes, and Kelly Miller. In addition, her siblings Julia Pitchford Cooper, Lucy Bonnett Berkley, and William H. Bonnett Jr.

Mary is survived by her loving husband of 52 years, Benny J. Smith, sons Lane La Rue (Jeannie), David La Rue (Carolynn), daughter Sara Miller, stepson Craig Smith, daughter in law Barbara La Rue, grandchildren Cammie Portello, Charles La Rue, Carrie Blankenship, Cierra Lang, Corryn La Rue, Trisha Primes, Jaymes VerSteeg, Bryana La Rue, Cody La Rue, Garrett La Rue, Julian Miller, Cameron Miller, ten great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends. She will be missed dearly, but her quick wit and moxie lives on in the generations she created.

Her celebration of life will be held on May 18th, 2024, from 12-4pm at American Legion Post 79 in Riverside, California. To celebrate Mary, bring a story and a laugh to honor her. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Shriner’s Hospital for Children.


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