Jacqueline Grace (Swan) Smith (1921 - 2015)

2 entries
  • "May the God of all comfort strengthen the entire family..."
    - SP
  • "Stephen, what a beautiful tribute to your mom. As I told..."
    - Colleen Kempf
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Our dear mother, Jacqueline Grace Swan Smith, passed from this world to the next on 12 November 2015 at Hospice House in Charlottesville, Virginia. Born on 16 June 1921 in Independence to Grace Cole Swan and Herbert G. Swan, she was the younger sister to two brothers, Richard Swan and Clark Swan. From a mercantile family that owned a furniture store and a funeral home, she enjoyed an idyllic childhood in an idyllic Iowa town.
After graduating from Frances Shimer College in Illinois, she returned to Independence and worked as a legal secretary. In October 1942, she married the love of her life, Robert Earle Smith of nearby Hazleton. Over the next year, they lived at several bases out West as he trained to fly B-24s before shipping out to the Pacific. Members of the Greatest Generation without knowing it, they were having the time of their lives while helping win a war to save the world.
Following the war, Daddy earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and then joined the FBI. In the course of the next several years and amid the births of their three children, they lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Detroit; and Haddonfield, New Jersey. In 1952, now a family of five, we moved to Decatur, Georgia, and Daddy began his long career at Lockheed. We soon moved to Acworth, a small town in Cobb County, where our parents gave us the best childhood-the best upbringing-that anyone could hope for. After moves to Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and back to Bridgeport (he managed Lockheed factories), Daddy died in 1976.
Suddenly without her loving and supportive husband, Mother made the rest of her life a study in class and grace and kindness-and mirth. And she made it look easy, probably because she was so comfortable in her own skin and truly embodied all those splendid traits. For the next 33 years, she enjoyed an active life in Leesburg, Florida, where she and Daddy had planned to retire and where her dear sister-in-law, Frances Smith Swan, lived. The two were best buds who enriched each other's life for more than three decades. And our terrific "double cousins" (Marge, Dick, Suzanne, David, and Herb), the offspring of Mother's brother Dick and Daddy's sister Frances, were a very important part of Mother's life. She devoted much of her time to volunteering at the local hospital and to nurturing her many friendships through entertaining and bridge and shared trips. But her family remained her primary focus.
After the irreplaceable Frances and many of Mother's closest friends passed away, she moved to Charlottesville, where she lived with her son for the past six years. Mother endured several bouts of various afflictions, but her grace and warmth-and wonderful sense of humor-never faded. She leaves a huge void in our lives that we can never fill but can at least temper with our dear memories of her.
We warmly thank the caregivers and physicians who cared for Mother over the last few years, allowing her to remain at home. Five wonderful caregivers-Rhonda, Patricia, Amy, Kayla, and Carolyn-provided loving care to Mother, as did several physicians, including Mahoney, Stiltner, and Klecan. We extend a very special thank-you to Lori Connolly, an angel disguised as a hospice nurse, who made Mother's last earthly moments as serene as possible.
Mother is survived by her three children and two sons-in-law: Roxi Smith Cook and Daniel Cook of Clendenin, West Virginia; Nancy Smith Gall and Edward Gall of North Augusta, South Carolina; and Stephen Smith of Charlottesville. Also surviving are her four granddaughters-Elisabeth Gall Kight, Leslie Gall Bruno, Jacqueline Suzanne Cook, and Molly Gall McDonald-in addition to seven great-grandchildren, eleven nieces, and four nephews, as well as her cousin Eleanor Luckel of West Branch, and formerly of Independence.
When we were growing up, Mother instilled in us a lifelong love of music, especially the glorious standards in the Great American Songbook. So, an Ira Gershwin lyric makes a fitting epitaph. It's from the verse to his brother George's music for "They Can't Take That Away from Me," a wistful song about the singer's memories of a departed loved one that can never be taken away:

The song is ended,
but as the songwriter wrote,
the melody lingers on.

A private inurnment ceremony will be held in Florida next year. We urge anyone who wishes to make a donation in Mother's memory to consider Hospice House, 501 Park Street, Charlottesville, VA 22901.
Published in Independence Bulletin-Journal from Dec. 18 to Dec. 30, 2015
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