MARIE BJORKMAN SMITH, 88 TRYON, N.C. - Marie Bjorkman Smith, 88, died peacefully on January 29, 2014, in her Tryon home. Marie was born in Chicago to Swedish and Norwegian parents, John R. and Adeline Miller Bjorkman on August 11, 1925. She celebrated this Scandinavian heritage as we now celebrate her life. Always curious, warm-hearted and upbeat, Marie was passionate about education, travel and the home. Music was also significant. She studied piano and voice in high school and college, and even auditioned for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Annual season tickets for both Lyric and the Chicago Symphony were "essential." After earning her Bachelors Degree in Speech from Northwestern University in 1946, Marie travelled throughout Europe and studied at the University of Oslo and later at the Sorbonne in Paris. This experience and her passion for exploring new cultures led her to a career as a sales executive for Pan American World Airways based in Honolulu. Following a year in New York, Marie returned to Chicago in 1958, as assistant to the Executive Director of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. In this role, during the 1959 Chicago International Trade Fair, she met Loren Smith, who became her husband on June 11, 1960. Marie and Loren relocated to Rockford, Illinois where, in addition to raising two sons and supporting her husband's business career, Marie was active in the Rockford Art Association, First Presbyterian Church, Cub Scouts, and several other causes over twenty-one years. Retirement years for Marie and Loren, have been divided between Chicago, Tryon, North Carolina and Northeast Harbor, Maine. But Marie did not retire; she supported a Chicago-based fundraising effort to rebuild Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, and the work of the Chicago branch of the English-Speaking Union (which had awarded her son, Cameron a scholarship). She was a founding member of the World Affairs Forum of the Carolina Foothills and was Program Chairman of the Tryon Garden Club. She was currently serving as a Stephen Minister in Tryon Presbyterian Church. Marie is survived by her husband, Loren, and their two sons, Alan and Cameron. Family gatherings in her memory will be held in Tryon, Charlotte and Rockford. Interment was at Tryon Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden. Arrangements by McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon, NC. An online guest register is available at www.mcfarlandfuneralchapel.com.
Published in Rockford Register Star from Feb. 18 to Feb. 19, 2014