Mary Ellen Elliff Smith (1921 - 2013)

Obituary
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Smith, Mary Ellen Elliff 1921 - 2013 Mary Ellen Elliff Smith died on February 11, 2013. Born September 1, 1921, she was married for 61 years to Wright K. Smith, M.D., and was the mother of three daughters and the honorary mother of many others throughout her life. An elegant, gracious and vibrant woman, Mary Ellen was greatly loved and will be deeply missed. The sixth of seven children born to Jones Shelvin and Donnie Bryant Elliff, Mary Ellen grew up in Terral, OK, where she loved school and was an outstanding student. Excelling in public speaking and drama, she graduated first in her class. After moving to Dallas, she attended S.M.U. and worked as a statistician and accountant. She later taught ballroom dancing where she met her future husband, then a medical resident. Wright said that he immediately fell in love with her beauty and kindness. They were married in 1948, and Mary Ellen became a full-time homemaker and mother. As active members of Highland Park United Methodist Church for decades, Mary Ellen and Wright participated in the 2x2 Sunday School Class where they made life-long friends, held many offices through the years, volunteered and enjoyed social outings. Mary Ellen was a deeply religious woman and faithfully read her Bible every day. Intellectually curious, Mary Ellen had an insatiable desire for learning and a remarkable fund of general knowledge. Although modest about her intellect and abilities, she was invited to join Mensa numerous times. She executed the Dallas Morning News crossword puzzle - in pen - each day and loved PBS' irascible "Doc Martin." She was an avid reader and enjoyed poetry in particular, quoting poems from memory to her family. She spent hours enthralled by the squirrels and birds in her backyard and could provide ornithological information about almost every one, as well as recount stories of their daily antics. Her lifelong interest in nutrition and vitamins were ahead of her time, and her longevity (91 years!) is a testament to her foresight and wisdom about good health. Mary Ellen had a rare gift for being fully present and genuinely interested in each person she encountered. Her compassion, sweet heart, and genuine appreciation of even the smallest of gestures made her special to countless individuals throughout her life. She and Wright were blessed for decades with the kindest and most doting Dartmouth neighbors. She was assisted for years by Pam Fisher, whose love, loyalty, and dedication are greatly appreciated by the family. In recent months, she lived at Walnut Place in assisted living. The family thanks the wonderful staff for their excellent care, Kathy Shockley and Grady Goodwin, M.D. in particular. Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her husband, Wright K. Smith, her daughter Patricia G. Smith of Knoxville, TN and the rest of her Elliff family. Surviving family members include daughters Cynthia A. Smith of Atlanta, GA and Ellen B. Smith of Austin, TX; grandchildren Erin, Reid and Grey Donnell and great-grandson Brendan Pitz Donnell, all of Knoxville, TN; as well as many beloved nieces and nephews across the country. A Memorial Service will be held in Cox Chapel at Highland Park United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 10am. The family will receive attendees in the foyer room next to the chapel following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Mary Ellen Smith's memory to the Walnut Place Employee Sunshine Fund, 5515 Glen Lakes Dr., Dallas, TX 75231.



Published in Dallas Morning News on Mar. 10, 2013
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