Audrey Lorraine Smith Herring, 95 years old, went to be with the Lord on October 24, 2023. Audrey was born on June 11, 1928, to Marion Priscilla and William Mason Smith at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC., and grew up in Falls Church, Virginia. Audrey passed away peacefully at the home of her niece Pamela Jones of Aquia Harbour, Virginia, with her daughter Virginia Lorraine Herring and Pamela by her side. Prior to relocating recently to the Aquia Harbour home, Audrey had resided with her son William (Lee) Mason Herring for nearly 10 years in Manassas, Virginia.
In 1945 Audrey graduated from Fairfax High School and attended Mary Washington College. While there she pledged to Sigma Sigma Sigma (Tri Sigma) Sorority. She transferred to Radford College where she graduated with her teaching degree in 1949. She loved to dance and wanted to go to New York to be a dancer on stage but went to college instead after her father said: “no daughter of mine is going to be a dancer!” and she continued with her studies. She enjoyed dancing cheek-to-cheek with her husband who was the love of her life, Mayo.
Audrey married William Mayo Herring, Jr., in April of 1950 at her home church the historic Falls Church Episcopal. They purchased their first home in Valparaiso Indiana and raised their 3 children and then moved to Elburn Illinois in 1971 where she and Mayo designed a beautiful home and named it “Ole Virginny”. Audrey was very involved in raising her three children Virginia Lorraine, Cynthia Ellen and William Lee Mason and developed long-lasting friendships outside the family that have remained close to her and the family. She served as a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader. Audrey was very active in her Episcopal Church in Valparaiso, Indiana and participated in Sunday school and helped with youth and church ministry activities throughout her life. One of her favorite inspirational, daily Christian readings was from the book “Gold Dust.”
Audrey loved to decorate her homes with family heirlooms and antiques collected over the years. She loved to go on the annual ocean vacations with her family and would travel from Illinois to the Maryland and North Carolina beaches. Audrey and Mayo enjoyed entertaining and opening their homes to family and friends and often singing around the player piano. They lived in the Midwest for nearly 40 years until Mayo retired from Standard Oil Co. and they moved on the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina.
Audrey loved the Victorian era and would dress in her Victorian dresses and go to teas and dances. One of her civil war dresses, she made from heavy satin blue and ivory striped fabric that once hung in “Ole Virginny” and she adorned it with ribbons and sashes she designed. She hosted Victorian teas at her homes. Audrey was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. Throughout Audrey’s life, she was a devoted Christian and started and ended every day with God in Prayer.
Audrey is preceded in death by her husband Dr. William Mayo Herring, Jr. (Ph.D.) in 1990 and her sister Charlotte Smith Jones Needham in 2022.
Audrey will always be remembered for her wonderful smile and her kindness and generosity to others, for her laugh and for always helping others.
Audrey is survived by her three children: Virginia Lorraine Herring Payne (Florida), Cynthia Ellen Herring Mills and her husband Don (North Carolina), and William Lee Mason Herring (Virginia); her nieces: Priscilla Jones Gibson and her husband Alan (Virginia) and Pamela Lee Jones (Virginia); her seven grandchildren: William Mason Payne (Maryland), Jeremy Lee Payne (Florida), Travis Raymond Payne (Virginia), Cody Mayo Payne (Virginia Beach), Daniel Beau Mills (New York), Melanie Jane Mills (Maine) and Jason Robert Mayo Herring (Virginia); and by her two great-grandchildren: Sebastian Wood Payne (Virginia) and Kayla Marie Payne (Florida).
The family would like to thank the many aides who provided At-Home Care for Audrey since her May 2020 stroke and the Hospice staff that monitored her health in her last few months.
Family and friends wishing to do so may contribute to the charity of their choice in lieu of flowers. Some of Audrey’s favorite charities are Shriners Hospital for Children, Hospice Heartland /Promedica and the St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Audrey will be laid to rest in the Swetnam-Herring family plot at Oakwood Cemetery in Falls Church, Virginia.
Promedica Hospice Heartland
333 N. Summit St., Toledo OH 43604
Shriner's Hospital for Children
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa FL 33607
St. Joseph’s Indian School