March 2, 1937 - July 9, 2013
Edna gracefully passed from this earth July 9, following complications of a stroke suffered on June 22, 2013. Tom, loving husband and best friend remained at her side at all times. She was preceded in death by her parents, Victor Frank Smithers and Edith Clara Smithers (Davies) (1956), and her brothers, John Smithers (2004) and Alick Smithers (2013). She is survived by her younger brother, Peter Smithers and many nephews and nieces and their families in England. She also had many cousins and their extended families spread along the east coast of the United States from New England to Florida.
Edna was born March 2, 1937 in Edgware, England and graduated from Hendon Polytechnic College in England and worked until 1960 as a Secretary for Cluttons, the prestigious estate agents in Westminster, London. She then accepted a position as an Executive Secretary at Prudential Insurance and moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1960 where she and Tom met. They were married on March 6, 1966 and their love flourished over the last 47 years.
Edna and Tom lived in Whittier, CA until 1979. Edna retired from Prudential in 1979. They spent a brief period living in Half Moon Bay before moving to Benicia in 1980. After moving to Benicia, Edna went back to college and obtained several AA degrees from Solano Community College and then transferred to U C Davis where she graduated with honors in 1987. At UC Davis, Edna was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She obtained her teaching credentials from U. C. Davis in 1988 and taught for several years in Benicia and Vallejo.
Mother Nature was Edna's domain and though she was small she was adventurous. She rafted the Colorado River for 120 miles through the Grand Canyon and hiked many times in the Grand Canyon, Zion, Yosemite, Sequoia, and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Calling both Alaska and Antarctica her choice playgrounds, she kayaked eight days from lodge to lodge on one trip and circumnavigated Admiralty Island on another trip. She 'befriended' bears, hiking with Alaska brown bears at Brooks Falls and with polar bears in the Arctic.
Edna was an active and supportive member of the communities she has lived in all her life. She was a popular and active child and teenager. In England she was a Brownie and Girl Guide and joined youth club activities. In Los Angeles she volunteered at the Children's Hospital in Hollywood and was a youth counselor at the Episcopal Church in Whittier. She was active in all aspects of the community after moving to Benicia. She gave of herself to all who needed help or support. She served as chair of the committee to restore the railroad depot at the foot of First Street, was a long time member and past president of the Benicia Historical Society, was a past chair of the Benicia Peddlers Fair and a volunteer worker in the fair for over 30 years, served on the board of Welcome Wagon, was a past president of the Benicia Friendship Club and served on its board for many years, and was a volunteer at the Suisun Marsh Association. She actively supported and served as a board member of the Benicia Community Action Council for the last 20+ years. As a tribute to Edna's dedication and service to the community, Edna was named Benicia's Woman of the Year in 1997.
Edna was very active at St. Paul's Episcopal Church serving as a Lector and Lay Eucharistic Minister, conducting Morning Prayer every Monday, coordinating meals for those in need, and providing office support.
Edna was an earth angel and was loved and respected by all who knew her. She now continues her adventures, heaven bound where she will be remembered with love by those she touched in this earthly life.
All are welcome to a service of thanksgiving in memory of Edna's life and accomplishments. Service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 120 East J St., with Very Reverend Jennie Forte officiating. The service will be followed by lunch. Please visit the online tribute at www.passalacquafuneralchapel.com.
Published in TimesHeraldOnline on July 21, 2013