Altoona United Methodist Chr
602 5th Ave SW
Altoona, IA 50009
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Beatrix Havens (Bea) Smith

1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Beatrix Havens (Bea) Smith Obituary
Beatrix (Bea) Havens Smith

Des Moines

Beatrix (Bea) Havens Smith passed from this life on October 31, 2016 at Calvin Community in Des Moines, Iowa. Bea was born July 29, 1924 to Henry and Jessie (Romack) Havens near Ollie in Jefferson County, Iowa. She graduated from Ottumwa High School. She received a Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology and Education from Grinnell College in 1945. Bea married Neal Smith in 1946 and together they graduated from Drake Law School in 1950. Bea was one of only three women in her law graduation class.

Bea practiced law in the firm of Smith and Smith until her appointment in 1952 as the first woman Probate Clerk in the Iowa District Court of Polk County. In 1955 she rejoined her husband as a lawyer in the firm of Clarke, Smith and Emery in Des Moines. She was a member of the Iowa Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.

Bea was a leader in numerous human service and civic initiatives in both Iowa and Washington, DC. She was active in the League of Women Voters for the Des Moines Metropolitan Area. She was a member, and served as President, of Beta Chapter of Beta Gamma Epsilon, an organization which trains seeing-eye dogs for the blind. She was a long-time member of Adelphic Chapter No. 417, Order of Eastern Star, in Des Moines, American Legion Auxiliary of Altoona, Des Moines Women's Club, Chapter MC, PEO Sisterhood in Altoona and served on the Council of Central Place for the SEP School District.

In Washington DC, Bea was a member of and held several offices in the Democratic Congressional Wives Forum and International Club III. She was a member of the Congressional Wives Prayer Group and the 86th Congress Club, and was a member of past presidents of the Congressional Club, which is open only to spouses of members of Congress, the Cabinet, and Supreme Court.

During the Vietnam War, Bea was chair of the committee of the Congressional Club that sponsored luncheons and tours on Capitol Hill for wounded servicemen from Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Hospital. She served for many years on the Community Service Committee of the Congressional Club that donates time and money for a home for abused women. She also has served these organizations: Recording for the Blind, SOME (So Others May Eat), Big Sisters of the Metropolitan Area, and Washington Area Hospices. She also volunteered at Children's Hospital and served as a special aide to teachers in inner-city schools.

While doing all of these things she faithfully served as a partner to her husband during his 36 years in Congress and their 70 years of marriage.

Bea was fun-loving, outgoing person who had many dear friends from all walks of life. Her family enjoyed her sense of humor and she enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren. She will be missed by all.

Beatrix was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Jessie Havens, and her stepfather, Harry Pile. Those left to carry on her memory are her husband, Neal, her son, Doug (Janet) of Sarasota, FL, her daughter, Sharon VanderSchel (Kevin) of Pleasant Hill, 6 grandchildren, Brennen Smith (Yoojung), Ryan Smith (Amy), Emily Rice (Casey), Ethan VanderSchel, Elizabeth VanderSchel, and Erin VanderSchel, 11 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great granddaughter.

The family would like to thank the staff at Calvin Community for their loving care during her residence there.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Altoona United Methodist Church, 602 5th Ave SW., Altoona. Funeral service will begin at 10 a.m., Friday, November 4, 2016, also at the church followed by a family burial at Packwood Cemetery in Packwood, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to either Caring Hands Outreach Center or Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) in memory of Beatrix.

Online condolences may be expressed at
Published in Des Moines Register from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, 2016
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