Helen C. Smith, 84, passed away Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.
Helene was born Feb. 6, 1935, in Youngstown, Ohio. Helene was the beloved wife of Wayne E. Smith Jr. She raised five children with enough energy to also be a wife, mother, award-winning poet, writer, artist, historian and musician.
As an artist, she gained recognition with a few blue ribbons for her works. We remember her best of show conquistador painting from the Monroeville, Pa., art festival and her blue parrot at the Kennerdell Music and Arts Festival. She enjoyed a good contest and entered a doll contest as a youngster and was thrilled that Ed Sullivan selected her doll, a Raggedy Andy style on live TV out of the winners during a segment showing off the toy dolls distributed to children in Europe post-World War II.
As a local Western Pennsylvania historian, she was a lifetime member of Westmoreland County Historical Society in Greenburg, Pa., and served on the board.
She led a research project for Pittsburgh’s urban planning of its light rail system. Her lifelong interest in history found her co-authoring the book titled “A Guide Book to Historic Western Pennsylvania” published by the University of Pittsburgh.
She had the distinction of locating Fort Hannastown during her years volunteering as an amateur archaeologist. Hannastown was the first seat of justice west of the Allegheny Mountains.
She wrote and published more than 50 books (macdonaldsward.com), movie scripts and plays including a one-woman monologue of Nellie Bly traveling around the world in 72 days in which she played Nellie Bly for several years. She co-authored a colorful one woman play, “Carry’s Hatchetation” about Carry A. Nation. She documented and published an investigation about the pesticide use on the Shoshone-Bannock reservation. Her book titled "Export, A Patch of Tapestry out of Coal Country America" is in the works of its third printing. Export, Pa., was the first to export coal from USA.
Helene helped form the Center Seven all-girls band that played on Friday nights in the Grove City, Pa., Youth Center. Helene played clarinet in her Grove City high school and Westminster College bands. She played in the Murrysville Symphony, the Kennerdell Music and Arts Festival orchestra and then developed an interest in the fife and was a longtime member of the Caboom fife and drum corps. She led opening and closing ceremonies for the Women’s Curtis Cup matches held at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh. Her Caboom fife and drum corps played in events through the USA and Lugano, Switzerland, participating in musters, marches and celebrations.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John B. Snyder and Francis A. Snyder; sons, Michael W. Smith and Gregory M. Smith; and a sister, Dorothy Sloan.
She is survived by her husband, Wayne E. Smith Jr. of Kingsland; daughters, Cheryl H. (SP Singh), Jennifer L. (Michael Benzer) and Laurel A. (Howard G. Bowen Jr.); and grandchildren, Luke A. Smith (Justine), Caleb A. Smith (Sean), and Hannah J. Smith.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to an animal rescue charity or her favorite local theater, St. Marys Little Theatre, 803 W. Alexander St., St. Marys, GA 31558.
No services are scheduled at this time.
Allison Memorial Chapel and Funeral Home of St. Marys is in charge of arrangements.