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Official Obituary of

Milagros Jesena Smith

July 18, 1942 ~ February 11, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old
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Milagros Smith Obituary

Milagros Jesena Smith, 81, passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 11, 2024 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York. Mila was born July 18, 1942 in the Philippines, daughter of the late Arsenio Jesena and Natividad Cajili. She is survived by her daughters Lilibeth “Betsy,” Mary “Emgee,” Charisse “Joie,” and Kristin “Tina,” their husbands Carlo, Hugh, Louis, and Michael, and the joys of Mila’s life, her grandchildren: Carlo Rodolfo, Hannah Isabelle, Sophia Elyse, Jacqueline Olivia, Katherine Amelia, and Thomas Michael. Mila is survived by her sisters Xenia Cañada and Selena Yulo in the Philippines, and Pat Santibanez of Grafton, nieces Suzanne Grossman and Mylene Duffy, nephew Dr. Scott Santibanez, along with their families.

Mila was a registered nurse for more than 50 years, she graduated from Riverside College in the Philippines with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After nursing school she moved to Chicago, the first of many Filipinos who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s as a result of the Immigration Act of 1965. After Chicago, she returned to the Philippines and married Rodolfo Palermo Meloto, and together they raised their four daughters in Bacolod City. Rodolfo died in 1988, and soon after having waited 17 years, Mila’s petition to immigrate to the United States was approved. In 1989, Mila and her daughters arrived in Grafton, West Virginia. She was a much-admired nurse at Grafton City Hospital and found a welcoming community in Grafton. Mila was a devout parishioner of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, and in 1996 she married Rev. Robert “Bob” Smith. When Bob passed away in 2016, Mila moved with her youngest daughter and family to Southern Pines, North Carolina, then to Loudonville, New York.

“Milagros” means miracles in Spanish, and Mila weaved many in her lifetime - healing patients with her care and compassion as a nurse, touching many as a friend with her love, humor and positive spirit, and inspiring her family with her determination to live in the moment and do good for others. Mila was a walking miracle in the past two years defying medical odds. She loved symbolisms and signs. Her last day on earth, February 11, 2024, was the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes: 11 was her favorite number in honor of her late husband, and Lourdes was the name of her daughter who died in infancy. Mila marched to her own beat, left this world on her own symbolic day.

Family and friends will be received at Bartlett Funeral Home, 202 McGraw Ave, Grafton, on Friday, February 16, 2024 from 4-8 PM with a prayer service at 7:30PM. A Christian Liturgy will be celebrated at 11:00 AM, Saturday, February 17, 2024, at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, with Father Babu Joseph officiating. Interment will follow at the Woodsdale Memorial Park. Online condolences may be sent to the Smith family Bartlett Funeral Home is honored to serve the Smith family.

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February 16, 2024

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Bartlett Funeral Home
202 McGraw Ave.
Grafton, WV 26354

Funeral Mass
February 17, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Augustine Catholic Church
17 W. Washington St.
Grafton, WV 26354


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