SMITH, Susan M. (Flax) Of Chestnut Hill, an elegant matriarch and a driving force in Boston philanthropy, died peacefully on July 30, 2016, at age 83. A lifelong Bostonian, Susan was raised in Newton, the daughter of the late Sadie G. and Leo Flax. She married her lifelong love, Richard Smith, in 1952. While she was attending Jackson College at Tufts University, they built their family home in Chestnut Hill. She was a devoted daughter, mother and wife; a devotion that would extend into the larger community. During the terminal illness of her 2 year old son, James, ('56 – '70) she began volunteering as a Candy Striper at Boston Children's Hospital escorting patients and families to their appointments. She would later dedicate her efforts to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; first as a founding member of Friends of the Dana-Farber, then spearheading a pioneering effort that became the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers. As in all her charitable endeavors, she had a hands-on approach committed to research and clinical care. "I am doing this so that one day my grandchildren won't have to face this disease," she would often say, long before she would herself succumb to a rare cancer. Susan took great pride in the formation and the work of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, a leading foundation focused on Greater Boston, with her husband Richard. Together they taught all three generations of their family the art and joy of philanthropic giving. This is Susan's lasting legacy for her family and community. She particularly enjoyed attending the Boston Symphony with her husband, needle pointing and gardening at her seaside summer home in West Falmouth. Susan is survived by her husband, three children, Amy Smith Berylson and her husband John, Robert Smith and his wife, Dana, and Debra Smith Knez; eight grandchildren, Jennifer Berylson Block and her husband Jonathan, James Berylson, Elizabeth Berylson Katz and her husband Robert, Jessica Knez, Andrew Knez, Madeleine Smith, Ryan Smith and Jackson Smith; five great-grandchildren, Benjamin, Zachary, Alexander, Thomas and Sara; her sister, Carol Flax Frieder and her husband, Sam; seven nieces and nephews; and her sister-in-law Nancy Lurie Marks. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline, Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. A private graveside funeral will be held. Shiva visiting hours at her home in Chestnut Hill on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 from 4-7 pm and Thursday, August 4, 2016 from 2-5 pm. Brezniak-Rodman Funeral Directors brezniakrodman.com
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Published by Boston Globe from Jul. 31 to Aug. 3, 2016.