Obituary: Brittany Sue Smith, 32, of Jacksonville, Fla., formerly of Ludington.

October 10, 2020

Obituary: Brittany Sue Smith, 32, of Jacksonville, Fla., formerly of Ludington.

‘If Love Could Have Saved Her, She Would Have Lived Forever’

Brittany Sue Smith, 32, of Jacksonville, Florida, left this world suddenly, on October 3, 2020.  Brittany was born on September 29, 1988 in Ludington.

From the start, she had such a zest for life – running and playing as a toddler, with her big smile, even through her diagnosis of Cardiomyopathy, at birth.  

On Mother’s Day, May 8, 1994, when she was 5 -years -old, Brittany was blessed with the gift of a donated heart  After her transplant, and a brand new heart that helped her to run and breathe again, she hit the ground and never looked back.  However, her life was not without many, many procedures, surgeries, hospital stays, bumps in the road, pain, and so many medical obstacles related to her heart.  But she never let any of that stop her from being the bravest, strongest, and biggest rock star to grace so many lives.

Growing up, Brittany was involved in dance, cheerleading, National Honor Society, was on the homecoming court, and did public speaking about her transplant and organ donation.  But her true passion, was being a horse owner, rider, and an amazingly accomplished equestrian.  Many would say to this day, that Britt was one of the county’s best horse riders.  With her beloved Lu-Nor ‘Riot’ by her side, they were a pair to reckon with, even mastering driving the horse trailers.  She would literally see her horses daily, no matter where they were kept them.

Brittany worked at 101 Threads, and Stix Restaurant to help put herself through college (“the girl could fit 25 hours in a day” was a statement recently made).  She graduated in 2012 from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, with a bachelor’s of science degree in radiation therapy,  BSRT (RT).  In November of that same year, she accepted a position with the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville where she currently had worked as a lead radiation therapist; a title she was rightfully, so very proud of.  In 2018, she was honored to be selected to present her radiation therapy abstract, at the 42nd Radiation Therapy Conference in Houston. This was the first time that someone from the UF Proton Therapy Institute had been selected to present, an honor that is highly coveted.

Brittany was also so proud of the beautiful new house she purchased.  She worked tirelessly inside and out, making her house her amazing ‘home’.

In the fall of 2015, Brittany suffered the loss of her best friend, her horse, Riot.  This was so crushing to her and broke her heart.  She then spent many long hours driving to an Arab horse farm in central Florida to ride the big guys again. But it wasn’t long before she picked up her reins again, and purchased her new ‘pony’ Magnum ‘Opie’ Opus in July of 2019.  She loved that horse (her words), and recently had a chance to get back in the show ring again.  Above all, Brittany loved her horses and riding, it was her lifelong passion.  Anyone who knew Britt (or if you were lucky enough to hear one of her many horse stories), could feel her passionate love for her horses.  She spent many hours most of her life riding, showing, and just hanging at the barn with the horses and her horse friends.

She loved her crafts, and was always sewing up a horse tail bag, blanket, or her own Halloween costume.  Britt also had a ‘thing’ for the infamous stray cats, (such as Bluey or OPC –  outdoor porch cat).  Somehow they always found their way to Britt.

Brittany also worked very hard to get her Spin Instructor Certification; she absolutely loved teaching her spin classes, and made many friends doing that as well.

She recently visited the Dominican Republic with her forever friends to celebrate their 30th birthdays, she was definitely a beach and Florida girl for life!  If there was one thing Brittany was blessed to have an abundance of, it was friends.  She passionately loved and was loved by so many friends and peers she kept from grade school, high school, college, and work.  She had horse friends, patient friends, and it seemed anyone she crossed paths with, became her forever friend – no matter where they may have traveled or moved to, they always remained her friends.  From even such a little girl, she touched people, colleagues, and her patients, in such a caring, loving, and incredibly gifted way.  Brittany was smart, beautiful, compassionate, funny, loving, and motivating.  She was a joy, and a genuinely amazing woman, who would literally do anything for anyone, in her too short life here on earth.

As much as Brittany loved and was loved by her friends, it was tenfold with her family.  Her mom (whose heart was connected with hers, and also her very biggest cheerleader, fan, and pseudo doctor), and sister had an unbreakable special bond, they were each other’s everything; the three amigos.  However, four years ago, Brittany was honored with a new title, ‘Sissy’.  The love for her niece Kelsey Sue was evident in every single moment with her.  Kelsey loved and will dearly miss her Sissy.  Brittany’s love for all of her family was unwavering, no matter the distance. Two very special people in Brittany’s life, were here Godparents, Rick and Connie VanLoon.  Brittany was blessed to have them as such a strong presence in her life to the very end, never missing a horse show or a chance to cheer her on in any of her life events.

Brittany will be sadly missed by so many people.  She touched lives on levels almost unimaginable.  She lived her life to the fullest and on her terms.  She knew what she wanted and she went after it, living a life of 32 years, most people can only dream of.  Our lives were blessed, but will never be the same without her big, incredibly beautiful smile.   Rest peacefully sweet Brittany, your journey here on earth was perfect, you have earned your Angel Wings.

Brittany is survived by her parents, Wendy and Patrick Maloney of Jacksonville, Fla. and Bobby and Lisa Smith of Michigan; her sister and best friend, Shelby (John Bergreen) Smith, and her beloved niece Kelsey Sue Bergreen also of Jacksonville; her paternal grandparents, Sue and Duane Smith; her Godparents Rick and Connie VanLoon; her horse ‘Opie’, and furry friends, Darla and Razzle; many aunts, uncles, cousins, and forever friends.

She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Patricia and Floyd Comstock; her horse Lu-Nor Riot; and her very special furry friend Paisley.

A celebration of life by Father Wayne Wheeler will be held at Oak Grove of Ludington at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 with visitation one hour before.  

Due to Covid-19, the family requests the wearing of masks if possible, and understands people with medical conditions who are unable to do so.

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