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Lois Smythe Meistrell

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POWNAL -- Lois Smythe Meistrell, 98, of Maple Grove Road, died Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2005, at home.

Born in Union City, N.J., March 23, 1907, she was the daughter of John F. and Euretta Meeks (Smyth) Valieant. Her early education was received at Ladycliff Academy, West Point, N.Y. Her further education took place at Union Hill High School and Montclair State Teachers College in New Jersey. This was followed by extension courses at New York University. She taught kindergarten and later taught mentally handicapped children in Union City, N.J.

She married Hartland W. Meistrell (now deceased) of Brooklyn, N.Y. at Grace Episcopal Church, Union City, N.J. They moved to Westbury, Long Island, and she became a member of Meistrell Real Estate & Insurance.

During World War II, she was a member of the “Dogs for Defense” (which was later taken over by the K-9 Corps of the U.S. Army). At The Seeing Eye, Morristown, N.J., she was the first woman who replaced men who had been drafted into military service. Her husband was a volunteer in the K-9 Corps and was assigned to the U.S. Marines at Atlanta. After leaving The Seeing Eye, she joined her husband in Atlanta and worked in the manufacture of B-29s in Marietta, Ga.

At the end of the war, she and her husband returned to Great Neck, Long Island, to re-establish their real estate business. They also became professional dog trainers. Dog training became most profitable and they formed the Great Neck Dog Training Center, Inc. She and her husband were consultants on radio and TV on programs about dogs and also horse related matters.

Lois became a columnist about dogs for the Long Island Press and Newsday. She was a freelance writer and a stringer for some of the New York dailies. She became a published author on dog care and training. She was an honorary whip of The Oakes Hunt in Queens County. She was a board member of the Dalmatian Club of America and the Dachshund Club of America. In 1995, she was made an honorary member of the Dog Writers Association of America.

After the death of her husband in 1963, she sold the real estate business and became president of their dog training business. In 1971 she retired to Pownal.

She is survived by nieces, nephews and their children and grandchildren.

There will be no services held in Vermont. Lois will be placed in the family mausoleum in Fairview, N.J.

Contributions in Mrs. Lois S. Meistrell’s memory may be made to either Second Chance Animal Shelter or the Pownal Animal Shelter through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.
Published in Bennington Banner on Dec. 29, 2005
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