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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Helen Catherine Smith, 75, dies

  • Obituary published December 5, 2013 in The Mexico Ledger
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  • The afternoon of November 27 2013, Helen Catherine Smith, 75, of Thompson, loving and devoted mother and wife, shed her earthly bonds and moved beyond mortal cares.
    She is survived by her loving husband of 54 years, Harold E. Smith II, one daughter, Megan Smith Lucas and her husband Tory, of Lynchburg, Virginia; three sons, Christopher C. Smith, of the farm; William Clayton Smith and his wife Carolee of Jordan, Minnesota; and James Smith, of the farm; her brother-in-law Jack Riley, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, along with her basset hounds, Missy and BoneZai.
    Her mother Rose White, her father Max White and her sister Maxine Riley preceded her in death.
    Helen's joys in life included reading fiction, gardening, bird-feeding, especially hummingbirds, making jelly, cooking Italian cuisine and canning produce, talking with her children and family friends along with playing casino games with her friends Marie Hardman, Jackie Callicott and Karen Hanley. She also enjoyed volunteering with the Mexico Lions' women's auxiliary for their annual rummage sale.
    Earlier in her life, as a young woman in Pittsburgh and graduate of Oakmont High School, she enjoyed playing piano, roller-skating, ice-skating and golf, often in the company of her sister Maxine and her cousin Delores Janisin.
    She and her husband Harold began life together after meeting when Harold was working for her mother's business in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. When Harold returned to Pennsylvania after lengthy cold-war military service in Europe, they married and she worked as a clerk for Kelvinator-Pittsburgh.
    Helen put aside many of her former avocations to devote herself to raising a family.
    This changed somewhat in the early 60s when Harold left his position with U.S. Steel to begin work for the international division of Kaiser Aluminum and Chemicals, based out of Mexico, Missouri, moving the family to their first farm, east of Mexico.
    Besides three young sons, they also brought with them a breeding pair of tricolor basset hounds that may have been Missouri's first, and by some accounts, were instrumental in introducing that variety of the breed to the state. Their daughter Megan was born after they arrived in Missouri.
    She became, in some ways, a farm wife. As her husband traveled for Kaiser, she spent lengthy periods of time raising three sons, and later a daughter, by herself, as her husband worked around the continent and abroad. She also learned to care for livestock and managed the family finances and investments.
    Helen eventually began working as an accountant for Mexico Lanes, where she taught hundreds of local children to bowl while competing at state and regional levels as a semi-professional bowler.
    Later, after the family moved to its second farm in Thompson, she supervised accounting and holdings for Bug-Out Pest Control and its associated affiliates.
    Page 2 of 2 - At the same time she shared her love of the written word by teaching reading-challenged adults how to read.
    This eventually led to a lengthy service on the board of directors for the Mexico-Audrain County Library District.
    In lieu of a funeral service, the family will hold a Celebration of Life, Saturday December 28, 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. at St. Matthews Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall, 1100 Grove Street, Mexico Mo 65265. Helen wanted memorials to be directed to the Mexico Audrain County Library, 305 West Jackson, Mexico, Missouri 65265 or the Centralia Public Library, 210 South Jefferson St., Centralia, Mo., 65240.
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