Wava was born August 18, 1928, in Flint, Michigan, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell and Anna (Johnson) Pruder. She and J.W. Smithwick were united in marriage on September 21, 1946. Wava worked for the Westwood Heights School District for 24 years as a cook, retiring in 1989. She was a member of Hopewell General Baptist Church since 1956, where she served in a variety of capacities until her death. Wava enjoyed spending time with her family, gardening and traveling. Left to cherish her memory are five children, Jerry and wife, Muriel Smithwick, James and wife, Kathy Smithwick, Jeffery and wife, Linda Smithwick, Janet and husband, Mike Helmer, and John and wife, Marcia Smithwick, brother-in-law Glenn Smithwick and wife, Margaret Smithwick; 14 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great grandchild; sister, Wilma Morse; and many nieces and nephews.