Cover photo for Russell Smelley's Obituary
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1938 Russell 2022

Russell Smelley

November 28, 1938 — October 10, 2022


Russell Paige ‘Sugar’ Sheffield Smelley Born November 28, 1938 Passed Monday October 10, 2022‘Sugar’ Smelley was born in Petersburg, Virginia in 1938 to Louis and Hazel Sheffield. The sixth of seven children, she made the front porch of her house her playground with her constant companion being her younger brother Curtis. The Colonial Heights neighborhood was her adventure land and Colonial Heights Baptist church services were her refuge. On June 6, 1954, two teenagers eloped and became Mr. and Mrs. Carleton Smelley. This was a surprise event to the family and dire predictions were made about the chances for it enduring 46 years later, Bud and Sugar were separated by Bud’s unforeseen death, but they had enduredto create a devoted marriage in which they prospered and grew. They raised three boys, Russell, Mark and Jeff. With a cooperative family approach, each of the boys graduated from Prince George High School. Each earned a college degree. Each had fruitful employment. They also provided great joy to ‘Bud’ and ‘Sugar’ as grandchildren were born. Amy and Katie born to Mark and Sue. Jeff and his wife Sandy and Jeff’s children Jacob, Ben and Samantha. Alyssa and Travis born to Russell and Allison. Amy and Steve Birdsong gifted them with great grandchildren Jack and Finn, Katie and Taylor Morgan had Chase and Brooks and Jake and Alexis Smelley brought Connor. Sugar is also survived by Sandra, Jeff’s wife, who was a loving and compassionate caregiver for years. Sugar had  a strong business acumen which helped her and Bud build a successful car dealership in Chesterfield County known as Carleton Motors. With Bud in sales and Sugar managing the finances, they advanced far from their modest beginnings as a teenage married couple. Their  devotion to one another was exhibited in their trust of one another in handling the myriad of tasks necessary to be a small business owner. Their many repeat customers felt comfortable  with the family atmosphere in their country house style office building. Sugar was able to keep the business going for three years after Bud’s death but realized that the loss of Bud was a matter to be grieved rather than worked through at the office. Sugar and Bud were long time residents of Prince George County near Carson and attended Shiloh Baptist Church. They moved to Chesterfield County in the 1990’s and continued as members of Matoaca Baptist Church. Bud’s absence in her life was challenging for Sugar. They had been constant companions and she missed the assurance of his devotion. Her passing on October 10 brought her to the arms of Jesus and the joy of seeing Bud once again. Her strength and perseverance saw her through life challenges. Her peace and comfort are now found in her heavenly home.  There will be a Service of Remembrance on Saturday October 15 at 1:00 pm at Gary’s United Methodist Church on 1911 Birdsong Road in Prince George County. All are invited to celebrate her life and share a story in the Service or at the reception immediately following at the church fellowship hall. Sugar is survived by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren except for granddaughter Alyssa Smelley who passed in July 2006. In lieu of flowers, gifts to Lewy Body Dementia Association would be appropriate . Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Colonial Heights Chapel of E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes and Crematory, 2033 Boulevard. Condolences may be registered at

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Service of Remembrance

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Gary's United Methodist Church

13501 Sunnybrook Rd, Petersburg, VA 23805

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