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Helen G. Smith

Apr 23, 1929 - Mar 11, 2018
ObituaryShare A Memory

  Helen G. Smith, 88, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at Hearthstone Cottage in Ellensburg, with family at her side in her final days.  Helen was born on April 23, 1929 in Great Falls, Montana to Gerald and Fern Smith and spent her formative years in that state, living also in Helena and Missoula with her parents and eventually, younger siblings June and Clifford.  

The family moved next to North Idaho, where she was graduated from Spirit Lake High School in 1945 as class valedictorian.  She then attended Northern Idaho College of Education (NICE) in Lewiston, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and met and married her husband of 63 years, Milo L. Smith.  At NICE, she earned distinction as a four-year member of Phi Beta Sigma, an honorary organization for future teachers.  
After college graduation, Milo and Helen moved to Quantico, Virginia so Milo could continue his service to the U.S. Marine Corps.  Their first child, Shannon, was born there.  His professional teaching pursuits took the family to Dallas, Oregon where daughter Kerry was born, and finally to Ellensburg, where son Kevin was born, and where Milo and Helen both taught at Central. 
Helen spent her 62 years in Ellensburg involved in a variety of pursuits, both personal and professional.  She taught English at Morgan Junior High School and Ellensburg High School.  After proudly earning a master’s degree from CWU, she taught English as a valued member of the department there, retiring in 1990. 
She also spent time as Director of Kittitas County Camp Fire Girls, was active in Faculty Wives and served for many years on the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital Guild.  She enjoyed being a member of several book and study clubs, often being invited to use her public speaking and moderating skills to enliven conversation and provoke thought.  She also sang with the Ellensburg Blues Women’s Chorus.
Helen and Milo were long active in the Rigadoon Dance Club and shared a love of live theater.  They made frequent trips to New York City to see as many off- and on-Broadway shows as possible, often seeing two or more productions a day.  They traveled throughout Europe, though were partial to the British Isles, which they explored on many occasions.  Helen shared a birthdate with William Shakespeare and spent one of her April 23 milestones at Stratford-upon-Avon – his birthplace in Warwickshire, England.   She also acted in three plays at Central: Grapes of Wrath, Twelve Angry Woman, and I’m Herbert.  Milo acted opposite Helen in the two-actors-only production of I’m Herbert, a comedy in one act.  The production was so well received that the Smiths received many requests for special performances, which they were happy to do in exchange for donations being made to the CWU Scholarship Fund.
One of Helen’s longest and most special connections was to a group of women known as the Crazy Ladies.  The “Crazies,” as they call themselves, have made regular outings a part of their lives together for decades, hiking one day and exploring an art museum the next.  Helen was honored to be part of the group of adventurous outdoor enthusiasts, partly because she was not an adventurous outdoor enthusiast by nature.   
She is survived by daughter Shannon (Hugh) Brannon, Seattle; daughter Kerry Slaughter, Ellensburg; and son Kevin (Nancy) Smith, Edmonds. Her surviving grandchildren are Jed (Ann) Slaughter of Tacoma; Erin Slaughter, Ellensburg; Claire Brannon, Seattle; Morgan (Sean) Henderson, Sammamish; Todd Brannon, Seattle; Emily (Ghiles) Benali, Everett; and Rachel (Nassim) Benali, New York City. Her great-grandchildren are Toby and Clara Slaughter, Tacoma; Liam Henderson, Sammamish; and Ryan Benali, New York City.  She was preceded in death by husband Milo and grandson Wesley Birkett-Smith.
Helen’s family would like to thank the many caregivers who offered their compassionate care and extend a special thank you to the wonderful staff and residents of Hearthstone Cottage who so lovingly cared for and befriended our beautiful matriarch.  
A memorial service for Helen G. Smith will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Hal Holmes Center, adjacent to the Ellensburg Public Library, 201 Ruby Street, Ellensburg, WA.  
Memorial donations may be made to Seattle Children’s Hospital in care of Brookside Funeral Home, 101 E 2nd Ave, Ellensburg, WA 98926
 
 

Funeral Information

Funeral service

Apr 7, 2018:2:00 p.m.

Hal Holmes Center

201 Ruby St., Ellensburg

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