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SMITH PATTY SMITH Patty Smith of Falls Church, 59, died on August 29, 2013 in an Alexandria nursing home. She had Alzheimer's Disease. Born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, Patricia VanBrocklin graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1972, attended Western Michigan University and began a career in graphic arts, working for studios in Atlanta, Dallas and back home in Michigan. She married David Krieger and they had two children that Patty stayed home to raise. She worked part time in a family owned jewelry store. When her children reached school age she finished her degree at Indiana University, graduating with honors with a degree in finance. Patty then embarked on a career in banking. Patty relocated to the Washington, D.C. area and in 1998 was hired by Provident Bank. Three years later she was recruited by BB&T and became a top performer as a Vice President in the Treasury Management area. In the early 2000's she began experiencing symptoms of mild memory loss and consulted a range of physicians, including neurologists, who conducted brain scans and cognitive function tests. She was in her early fifties and no doctor diagnosed Alzheimer's or other form of dementia. She was told that her symptoms likely stemmed from stress in the workplace, exhaustion or depression. It took two years before an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease was made. Patty immediately volunteered with the National Capital Area Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to help heighten awareness of the importance of early detection of Alzheimer's. She was a featured speaker at numerous Alzheimer's fundraising events as well as the subject of media reports ranging from CBS Evening News to a cover story in USA TODAY, among many others. She participated in a lecture at the National Institutes of Health before an audience comprised largely of neurology medical students. In 2008, her project, "Alzheimer's Disease: Early Detection Matters," was selected by American Express card holders out of thousands of entries for a First Prize worth $1.5 million, funds awarded to the Alzheimer's Association to create and promote a campaign about the importance of early detection. Patty Smith is survived by her husband, Jay Smith of Falls Church, a son Matthew Krieger and a daughter Whitney Krieger, four step children, siblings Dorothy Moley of Scottsdale, Arizona, Joan Wagner of Cape Coral, Florida, Michael VanBrocklin of Olney, Maryland and Robert VanBrocklin of Westland, Michigan as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Her parents, Eber and Ellen VanBrocklin of St. Joseph, Michigan, predeceased her. Memorial service to be private.Memorial service to be private.
Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 5, 2013