Geneva Laws

Geneva Maxine Laws (Cates)

December 15, 1936 - November 22, 2019
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Mrs. Geneva Maxine Cates Smith-Laws, the daughter of the late Alexander Cates and Ella Morris Wheeler Cates, was born December 15, 1936 in Rougemont, North Carolina. After the passing of her mother Maxine was raised by her late aunt Mattie Wheeler Arrington in Lemon Springs, North Carolina. Maxine departed this life on Friday November 22, 2019 surrounded by family.

Maxine attended schools in both Rougemont and Sanford during her years of living in North Carolina. She was a 1955 graduate of W.B. Wicker High School in Sanford, NC. Maxine married Garland G Smith and move to Seattle, Washington where later they welcomed five children. While in Seattle she was employed for a short time with the Boeing Aerospace Company, Jencelite, Fredrick & Nelson, and the Seattle School District where she retired after 30 plus years of service. Before and after retirement she enjoyed her part-time employment working for both the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks.

While in Seattle, Maxine was a faithful member of Peoples Institution Baptist Church, and while in North Carolina she was an active member of her family church home New Red Mountain Missionary Baptist Church.

Maxine loved music, singing, and her family. You could often find her sitting in her favorite spot by the window with her collection of cassette tapes, or watching her Judge shows. Maxine was known by many and could go nowhere without seeing someone she knew, which speaks in volumes to her character. She was called “mom” and loved by many who adored her.

She is preceded in death by, her son, Garland Gilbert Smith Jr.; stepmother, Mary Cates; sisters, Sara Elizabeth Cates, Rosa Lee Blackmon, Hattie Corinna Roberts; brothers, John Cates, Ellison Cates, Jerome Cates, Earl Cates, Alexander Cates Jr. and George Cates.

She leaves to carry on her legacy, her husband, Godfrey Laws; daughters, Cheryl Dianne Smith & Kathy Marie Smith; sons, Gilford Wallis, Smith, William Anthony Smith, and Patrick Robles, all of Seattle, WA; grandchildren, Alexander Gaffney, LaToya Maxine Smith, J’Nae Smith, Gilford Smith Jr.; god daughter, Sonia Edmondson; sisters, Lugenia Parker (William) of Bahama, NC, Louise Cates Harris, Pearl Cates-Bullock, Mary Cates Curry, Marie Cates Carrington, Evelyn Cates, Pauline Cates, and Claudine Cates, all of Durham NC; sister-in-law Dorothy Cates of Bronx, NY; brothers, James Cates (Jean), Samuel Cates, Goldsmith Cates (Amay), Joesph Cates, all of Durham NC; along with a host of loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday November 30, 2019 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    Saturday November 30, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    New Red Mountain Baptist Church
    1401 Red Mountain Rd, Rougemont, NC 27572
    ROUGEMONT, NC 27572
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday November 30, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Saturday November 30, 2019 1:00pm
    New Red Mountain Baptist Church
    1401 Red Mountain Rd, Rougemont, NC 27572
    ROUGEMONT, NC 27572
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Denise Wingo

Posted at 11:12am
My memory of your mom goes back to my high school years where I attended Nathan Hale with Cheryl. Your mom had so much love to give and was so generous she gave that love to me. I grew up blocks away and I would remember her saying I see you and your white car zooming up the hill past the house, seems like I was always running late or just driving a little fast. But the best memory I have is hearing her voice and claiming me as her other daughter, oh how that warmed my heart, and I had the privilege of calling her mom. I know how hard it is to lose your mom but know God, your family and friends will help you along this journey of loss. My love to you all

Denise Wingo and family

Beverly W.

Posted at 06:15pm
The Winston family is send our condolences & Love to the family. We are truly sadden for your loss of a very beautiful mother.

Lolita Flowers

Posted at 11:53am
Mrs Law was our neighbor (I know her as Mrs Smith for many years) When she got married, it took awhile for me to adjust to calling her Mrs. Laws but she never corrected me. So, one day I saw her outside and I said like always “Hey Mrs. Smith!” she just greeted me with that beautiful smile and she always made me feel like she was happy to see me. I walked across the street to chat with her for a moment and I finally asked “Mrs. Smith, what’s your new name?” She said “ It’s Mrs. Laws“. I remember thinking, her name may have changed but she never did. She was still the warm, loving, kind, humorous and very beautiful woman. I always liked talking with Mrs. Laws and the only regret I have is never taking the opportunity to tell her I love her, because I truly did.. She wasn’t just our neighbor, she was our true friend, my friend and I will cherish her for the rest of my life. I asked our Heavenly Father to please give Mrs. Laws a message for me and tell her that I love her and thank you for being my friend.

Patrick Robles

Posted at 08:40am
You taught me unconditional love, and for that I will always be grateful. I’m mad that you’re gone, but so happy that you’re now receiving your just reward in heaven. Rest easy, my sweet Mom. 💔

Sherricca Parrish

Posted at 07:40am
I'm going to miss this wonderful woman of God. Maxine, you will always have a place in my heart.

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