Jean Smith
1928 - 2015
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(News Article) Jean Smith, 86, a volunteer for cultural and civic groups who brought flair to charitable benefits she organized, died Friday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue.

She had been in declining health, her sons said.

Mrs. Smith of Perrysburg Township - and a longtime Maumee resident - was president of the Toledo Opera Guild in 1998-99 and from 2004-06. She was a chairman of the Sapphire Ball several times and, for a special fund-raiser show, brought in designer Carolina Herrera - "the most successful and the most fascinating style show the Opera Guild ever had," said Shirley Joseph, an Opera Guild board member and former president.

Mrs. Smith also was a longtime member of the Toledo Symphony League, produced several fashion shows, and was at the helm of several benefits.

"She did so much to further the cause of music in Toledo," Mrs. Joseph said. "She had multiple talents. Any job she took on at any event was a real success."

Her own apparel - a smart hat, eye-catching earrings - attracted notice.

"She had the right shoes, the right accessories. She was always well put together from head to toe and had that distinctive Jean Smith look," Mrs. Joseph recalled.

Her son Rick said she was devoted to the Toledo Animal Shelter and its no-kill policy; she'd been a president of its auxiliary. She was appointed to the city's forestry commission in 2003 by Mayor Jack Ford.

Born May 6, 1928, in London, Ont., to Myrtle and Russell Canning, she was 4 when the family moved to Maumee. She graduated from Maumee High and received a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University, then taught at a Toledo elementary school for a year. Her interest in fashion led to work as a model at Himelhoch's, a high-end women's clothing store in Detroit.

She was a stay-at-home mother when her sons were young. She later was a member and president of the St. Luke's Hospital Auxiliary.

"I know my mother did a lot. Our house was always the center," son Regan said. "The kids always felt comfortable coming over."

She was a member of the Toledo Club, Toledo Yacht Club, and First Presbyterian Church, Maumee.

She and Richard E. Smith married June 22, 1954. Mr. Smith, an accountant and an owner of Trans-World Shipping Service, died Feb. 15, 1998.

Surviving are her sons, Dr. Richard R. and Regan C. Smith; four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

At her request, there is no visitation, and services will be private. Arrangements are by the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee. The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Animal Shelter.

Contact Blade Staff Writer Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Apr. 18, 2015.
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7 entries
May 22, 2016
Your mother was a very special lady in so many ways. I adored her and am so sad to hear of her passing. Your Mom and I did many fashion shows and fundraisers together for years when I was a fashion director for Elder Beerman and The Lion Stores, including Carolina Herrera. She will always have a special place in my heart.
Bless her. I only wish I could of seen and spoken with her again.
Sincerely, Melanie Mance
Melanie Mance
May 2, 2015
Regan, Jean was a mentor, and example, a leader, a statement of elegance and propriety, a friend to me and to the community. Jean will be remembered and missed. My condolences on this loss to your family and to all who knew and loved Jean Canning Smith.
Barbara Brown
April 21, 2015
Betty and I just learned of your mother's passing and we are sorry for your family's loss. You have our sincere sympathy and love. Sam
April 20, 2015
I knew Jean as the Face of Toledo Society, a tall, distinctive and beautiful woman... she was the person that everyone wanted to know and be seen with in the Toledo Blade Society column... I shall always remember her extraordinary organizational and fund-raising abilities and her no-nonsense personality and love for her beloved Toledo charities! May she rest in peace and love.
Dr. Joanie Barrett
April 20, 2015
So sorry to hear about your Mothers passing. You and your family are in our prayers.
Jane Manahan
April 20, 2015
So very sorry Regan. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
Andrew Peth
April 17, 2015
My condolences to the Smith family, you all are in my prayers.

RickSchlachter-Columbus, OH
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