Thelma Smith

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SMITH, Thelma L . (Age 85) Like the matriarch she was, Thelma L. Smith, following a heart attack, gathered her family to share the final days of her life. On December 15, 2009, Thelma entered the gates of heaven and was greeted by her parents, Bill and Mae Smith, together with her sisters Dorothy Mulkey, Billee Swanberg, and her brother Richard Smith. Thelma was born in Colfax on January 5, 1924. She lived there until her family moved to the Spokane Valley. She graduated from Central Valley High School in 1942, together with her future husband, Thomas S. Smith. Following graduation, she attended Washington State University and graduated with a degree in home economics in 1946. There, she was always a leader and served as President of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. Over the years, Thelma enjoyed a close relationship with many of her sorority sisters. In spring of 1946 Thelma and Tommy were engaged in Boston while Tommy was serving in the U.S. Navy and attending Harvard Business School. They were married on October 4, 1946 and made their lifetime home in the Spokane Valley. Thelma used her education to become a homemaker, and a wonderful mother to her three children, Karen L. Smith, Thomas R. Smith (Sheryl), and Scott R. Smith (Vicky). Thelma claimed she earned an honorary doctorate in raising her children, and especially in raising her husband. In 1957, Thelma and Tommy built their dream home in the valley on 14 acres, and raised their family there. Over the 52 years Thelma enjoyed her home, gardening and raising vegetables and raspberries that would rival Renfroes and Rosauers. She grew wonderful lilacs, whose roots were shared with many and are found throughout the valley. She loved trees, had a green-thumb for flowers (especially begonias and roses), and watched all of the wildlife that she enjoyed from her expansive front windows. Perhaps the only thing she enjoyed more was the many warm summer days spent with her family at their home on Priest Lake. There, with her colorful wit and sense of humor, she often dispensed sage words of wisdom and prepared wonderful meals for the family. Thelma is survived by her beloved husband, Tommy, her children, grandchildren Kimberly Powell, Karley Willis, Lindsay Beal, Nicholas Smith, Ashlyn Smith, seven great-grandchildren, as well as loved nieces, nephews and friends. She was a second mother to Dale, Bob, Jerry and Gus. She will be dearly missed, although we all know her spirit remains with us. Memorials in memory of Thelma may be made to Opportunity Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice. A memorial service is planned after the holidays.

Published in Spokesman-Review from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21, 2009