DESTRY, Mildred Isabel Evalane Smith
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It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wife, Mildred Isabel Evalane Smith Destry, on the last day of July, 2013.
Mildred was born in Boston on 12 August, 1923, the only child of William Alexander Smith and Susan Isabel Prouty. When she was four, the family moved to Portland, Maine, where she spent her childhood and early 'teens, graduating, with high honors, from Deering High school in that city.
On admission to King's County Hospital School of Nursing, she moved to New York and obtained her R.N. diploma from that institution in 1945, first in her class. Further study there earned her a diploma as a nurse anesthetist, in which capacity she practiced her art both at King's County Hospital and at Mount Sinai Hospital. Near the end of WW II, Mildred was a cadet in the United States Army, where she worked as a nurse anesthetist, and was offered a career in the military but decided against it.
The year 1953-4 was spent in Paris and Mildred, with only an elementary knowledge of French, attended l'Université de Paris (La Sorbonne) earning a "Diplôme de Civilisation Française, Degré Supérieur" with a "Mention très bien".
On her return to the United States, she went to Chicago and worked there as a nurse anesthetist at Swedish Covenant Hospital, all the while following the program of French studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, obtaining a B.A. in 1956. Her scholastic achievements there earned her a Phi Beta Kappa key.
Mildred and Jacques were married in 1955, and, in 1958, together with her infant first son and husband, she moved from Evanston to Corona, California, staying there for a brief period of time before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1959. Her second son was born there the following year.
In 1962, the young family moved to State College, Pennsylvania and Mildred attended Pennsylvania State University, which conferred on her, in 1966, the degree of Master of Arts in recognition of the completion of advanced studies in French. For another brief period (1966-67), she lived, together with her husband and two young sons, in Stillwater, Oklahoma and taught a course in French Studies at Oklahoma State University.
In 1967, the family moved to Montreal, where, for several years, she was in charge of the Secondaire Cinq English program at Collège Brébeuf and also taught English at Université de Montréal and Sir George Williams University (in the "Teaching English as a Second Language" program).
In 1990, Mildred and Jacques moved to Addison and then settled in Kingston in 1996. Here, she made many friends, and, together with Patricia Soberman, established a popular French conversation group. As well, she was a member of the Monday Painters. She continued painting during her many extended winter stays in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she also established a French conversation group, and, after taking a course in the History of Art at the Saint Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, became, arguably, one of the museum's most popular docents.
The death of my wife, so devoted to her family, so modest, selfless and kind, leaves a big void in my life and in the lives of our two sons Judge Matthew Isaac (Matt) of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and William Alexander (Alec) of Landers, California, but we take comfort in knowing she lived a full and productive life.
The staff at Providence Manor has been exemplary in its compassionate and professional care of Mildred during her last three years of life and, especially, during her final illness. I also wish to thank Drs. Hoffe, Liedermann and Chan of Kingston General Hospital, who did their very best to help her recover from the ravages of pneumonia.
A mass for her eternal repose will be held at Saint George's Cathedral on Tuesday, August 27th next, at 2 p.m., in the Lady Chapel. No flowers please.
Arrangements entrusted to Gordon F. Tompkins Funeral Home-Central Chapel.613- 546-5454
Published in The Gazette on Aug. 17, 2013