On the beautiful morning of June 24, 2012, Mary Lidwin "Aunt Mary" Smith, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend and favorite "auntie," surrounded by family and friends, passed into the arms of her Lord and Savior, where she will begin her stay in his heavenly grace.
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"Mary Lidwin" was born June 11, 1933, to the late Peter and Martha Esmailka and raised along the Yukon River, in Nulato.
Mary met Myron "Big Mike" Smith in Ruby in 1954 while he was stationed in Alaska with the military. Since that time, they have been together both in spirit and proximity. After numerous excursions to the Lower 48, the first for Mary, they returned to Alaska in 1963, and settled in Fairbanks where they have remained for all these years.
In Fairbanks, they raised three sons and two daughters, and were blessed with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mary also helped raise as she would often say - "in the Indian way" - numerous nieces, nephews and children from all walks of life, who all referred to her affectionately as "Aunt Mary."
Mary was a lifelong Catholic and a devoted member of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks, where she was a regular attendee of Sunday services. Mary was dedicated to her Roman Catholic faith, which brought her great comfort and peace, and was not ashamed to convey to family and friends the need for them to find the same faith, as she had.
Mary was also a prolific sewer and found great delight in making parkas, gloves, quilts, and any other variety of items for friends and family and especially for the Stick Dance.
Mary was a wonderful cook. She was well at home feeding just her and Mike, but was more at home with a house full of friends and family, or as was often the case, complete strangers. Special occasions were expected with great anticipation of fresh bread or rolls, pies of a variety too numerous to count, or maybe roasted beaver or goose. Everyday dinners of moose soup, pizza or salmon were often the birthday requests of family and friends, and she was more then happy to oblige.
Mary was preceded in death by siblings, Arthur, Mabel, Bertha, Celene, Lilly, Rudolph and Deloris, and her children, Myra Ann Smith and Robert Wayne Smith.
She is survived by, and will be profoundly missed by her husband Myron D. Smith, who was blessed with more than 58 years of love, respect and dignity, and beloved children, Michael Earl, Daniel John and Joy Bernadine.
Mary was laid to rest in her hometown of Nulato.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Aug. 5, 2012