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Karen Smith

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Karen Smith Obituary
Karen Kathleen (Sandy) Smith

Karen Smith MD, who devoted her life to the care of children as a rural pediatrician, pediatric consultant, medical teacher, and medical director over three decades, has died at the age of 62 from cancer. Dr. Smith is missed by her adoring spouse, Judy Schwedes and by the multitude of family, friends and colleagues who knew her not only as Dr. Smith and Karen, but also as Sandy and Stormy.

Those of us who worked with Dr. Smith admired her logic, assurance and compassion. She graduated from the University of Nevada in Reno and Tufts University School of Medicine and completed a residency in Pediatrics at Tufts and Seattle Children's Hospital.

Dr. Smith served as a pediatric clinical instructor and faculty at Oakland Children's Hospital and University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. The UCSF sites included San Francisco General Hospital and a community health clinic. She worked as the Medical Director of a health plan that administered Medicaid in San Francisco. Her most recent position involved pediatric research and training with IMTR at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Dr. Smith's career also included extensive consulting and speaking on varied issues including asthma, child abuse, and health care for foster children. Her reach was broad and deep.

Outside of medicine, Dr. Smith pursued a variety of interests, including photography, gardening and foreign travel. She maintained a life-long passion for Buddhist thought and practice. Above all, she was devoted to her life partner and to her many friends.

Dr. Smith is survived by her spouse Judith A Schwedes MD of Vashon, WA. She is also survived by her brothers Bernard Jeffrey Smith of Colfax, CA and Sean Patrick O'Leary Smith of Sparks, NV, and by her cousin, Linda Smith Yarbrough of Kingman, AR. Her parents, now deceased, were Katherine O'Leary Smith and Bernard James Smith of Reno, NV.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday September 20th at Judy's home. In lieu of flowers, if you wish, please send donations to the Puget Sound Zen Center, Vashon, WA. Please visit our online guest book at islandfuneral.com.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 7, 2014
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