By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
11:58 AM PDT, June 16, 2012
Rebecca Groves "Becky" Smith, a former educator and social worker who had been a trustee at what is now McDaniel College for more than three decades, died Thursday of heart failure at William Hill Manor in Easton. She was 95.
The former Rebecca Groves, the daughter of a farmer and a homemaker, was born and raised in Kennedyville.
After graduating from Chestertown High School in 1933, she earned a bachelor's degree in history and English and certification in secondary education in 1937 from what was then Western Maryland College.
She was working as a social worker in Baltimore when she met her future husband, Marvin Hugh Smith, who was also a social worker and attended law school at night. They were married in 1942 and later settled in Federalsburg.
Judge Smith, who was appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals in 1968 and served until retiring in 1986, died in 2010.
After her three children were grown, Mrs. Smith taught from 1967 to 1982 at Colonel Richardson High School in Federalsburg and later was on the faculty at Chesapeake College.
Mrs. Smith also was a substitute teacher, tutored homebound students and was a tutor for Project Read.
Western Maryland College, now McDaniel, remained an important part of Mrs. Smith's life. She served as a trustee from 1976 to 1988, and after attaining emerita status, continued attending meetings.
When McDaniel asked for her favorite college memory some years ago, Mrs. Smith wrote, "I know [we] received more than 'book learning,' and I appreciate the safe, wholesome environment for four of my 'growing up' years."
"She was a spunky, wonderful lady," said Joyce Muller, associate vice president of communications and marketing at McDaniel College. "Becky loved life. Her enthusiasm and energy was boundless, and you always felt recharged in her company. Even though she was a trustee emerita, she was still considered a trustee."
"I'm not one of the old alumni who says everything was rosy back when I was a student and nothing's as good now. I think the new faculty are pretty good. Now, there are some changes I disagree with, but I figure that's due to the changing times," Mrs. Smith said in a 1996 interview with The Hill magazine, a McDaniel College publication.
Nancy C. Voss, a retired Caroline County kindergarten teacher and McDaniel trustee, had been a friend of Mrs. Smith's for more than 50 years.
"I've been a trustee for 31 years, and we served at the same time. She was especially interested in promoting the college, obviously, and getting alumni to be active. The college was a big part of her life," said Mrs. Voss, who graduated from Western Maryland College in 1954.
"Becky was a very friendly and caring person," said Mrs. Voss. "Even after she was no longer driving long distances, we'd go to meetings together."
In addition to her trusteeship and remaining active in alumni affairs, Mrs. Smith organized and served as president of a Mid-Shore alumni chapter. She was also class reporter for the college's alumni magazine.
She was a member of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, Daughters of the American Revolution, Order of the Eastern Star and the American Legion auxiliary.
Mrs. Smith was also a member of the junior auxiliary of Memorial Hospital in Easton and Lawyers Spouses of Maryland.
She was a longtime active member of Union United Methodist Church in Federalsburg, where she helped prepare food for the weekly Rotary Club luncheon meeting held at the church.
Mrs. Smith was an avid gardener and reader. She also enjoyed crossword puzzles.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at her church, 301 N. Main St., Federalsburg.
Surviving are a son, M. Hugh Smith Jr. of Denton; two daughters, Melissa Smith Barnes of Littlestown, Pa., and Sarah J. Smith Pettegrew of Jacksonville, Fla.; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun