Kathryn Smith

1921 - 2016 Obituary Condolences

May 26, 1921 - June 8, 2016
Resident of San Jose
Kathryn (Kay) McGee Smith passed away peacefully at her home, just a week and a half after her family gathered from around California and the East Coast to celebrate her 95th birthday. Kay was the beloved mother of Janet MacMillan (Jim), Pamela Smith, Patti Penski (Frank), Nancy Smith (David), Kathy Smith, Paul Smith, and Lynne Smith (Fred) and the devoted and loving grandmother of Carrie, Katie, Paul (Connie), Meghan (Marshall), Meredith (Martin), Deirdre (Alex), David (Tracy), Rachel (Ryan), and Elisa and eight great-grandchildren. Kay was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Paul, and equally beloved grandson, Ryan who had resided with Kay and served as Kay's chauffeur and best buddy.

Kay was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her main ambition in life as a young woman was to travel, and travel she did. She enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in late 1942, was inducted into the Women's Army Corps on January 10, 1943; she served in Texas, Georgia, and England during World War II, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. While in England, Kay met the love of her life, Paul Smith, who was an officer in the Army Air Corps. They married in Warrington, England and honeymooned in Scotland.

Kay was a devoted mother to her seven children, making a home for the family wherever Paul was sent as he served in the U.S. Air Force after the war. When Paul retired in 1967, the family settled in San Jose. Kay then reentered the workforce as a saleswoman, was a top seller, becoming the manager in women's wear at the Emporium department store.
When Kay retired, she and Paul traveled extensively, visiting Ireland, Great Britain, Spain, Mexico, the Panama Canal, and France, as well as traveling to see friends throughout the United States. Paul and Kay visited the Normandy beaches on the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, a trip that meant much to them. Kay revisited Ireland with her family for her 90th birthday and last year cruised to Alaska with members of her family to celebrate her 94th birthday.

After her retirement, Kay began her many years of service to her community; she served

as a docent at the San Jose Museum of Art and was active in St. Christopher's Church. She volunteered once a week for over twenty-five years at Sacred Heart Community Service. Kay attended News and Views at the Willow Glen Senior Center, and kept fit with Tai Chi for seniors and water aerobics for seniors.

Family was very important to Kay and she loved spending time with her children and their families. Nothing made Kay happier then to have her children around to go out to lunch, do a little shopping, or go to a movie, and then settle into an evening of news, Jeopardy, and crime shows. Kay loved a good mystery and was an avid life-long reader.
Kay will be sorely missed by all of her family.

Friends are invited to attend the Visitation (4-7 p.m.) and Vigil at 7:00 p.m. at Lima Family Erickson Mortuary at 710 Willow Street, San Jose on Thursday, June 16, 2016, and a funeral Mass on Friday, June 17, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Christopher's Church at 2278 Booksin Ave, San Jose. Interment will follow at the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery 490 Lincoln Street, Santa Clara.

In lieu of flowers, Kay's family asks that donations in her name be made to Sacred Heart Community Service, 1381 South First Street, San Jose CA 95110, www.sacredheartscs.org

View the online memorial for Kathryn Smith

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on June 14, 2016

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