January 28, 1939 - April 19, 2018
Pat Smith, who unashamedly claimed responsibility for she and her husband buying, then him restoring a classic MG convertible, died Thursday at her daughter’s home in Muncie, Ind. She was 79.
Patricia “Pat” O’Donnell Smith spent her life paying attention to details. Yellow, the happiest color according to Pat, was generously used throughout her home in Michigan. When given any opportunity to share flowers with a loved one or friend, she would turn to daisies that she believed were, like the color yellow, preternaturally infused with joy. And she loved to stroll through a HomeGoods store, or wander flea markets looking for that elusive “good find.”
Her daughters remember Pat as a woman who described herself as being lucky, though they believe their mother made her own luck.
The only child of a single mother, Pat’s childhood was in many ways non-traditional for the times. But the experience helped to create some of the characteristics she’s best remembered for. Her daughter, Suzy Smith, said her mom was a woman who had a strong work ethic and didn’t know “quit.”
“With mom, we often heard, ‘Finish what you started,’” Suzy said. “Giving your word to someone meant something to mom and she taught us that.”
Suzy’s sister Stacy Ymbras said the lesson is now a multigenerational legacy.
“My husband and I say that to our kids all the time,” Stacy said. “We tell the kids, ‘You made a commitment, you have to fulfill that commitment.’”
Pat took delight in simple things. Tooling about in the restored canary-yellow MG was how Pat and her husband Marv spent lazy afternoons. With the top down and the wind blowing, the pair would set out on one of the couple’s signature “little adventures” as she called their outings, sometimes meandering for hours to get an ice cream cone.
And for years, after both daughters were living in the Atlanta area, Pat would make sure each was prepared to buy the other a birthday cake so the day could be properly celebrated.
“Birthdays were a big deal for mom,” Suzy recalled. “She made sure those were special days.”
With a dry humor and quick wit, Pat loved to talk with her family and neighbors. In the Florida community where the Smiths wintered, Pat was known for encouraging her friends to pop in for a visit. “The coffee pot’s always on,” she would say. “Come on in, sit down, let’s talk.”
She spent her career in business, starting out in secretarial service for Marathon Oil. Over the years she worked for companies that sold playground equipment, office supplies and for the Andrew Mack Brush Company, home of what the company calls the famous “pinstriping” brush.
But Pat believed her life’s greatest achievement was in raising two daughters who were happy and successful. And in time, she took immense pleasure in becoming a grandmother.
“My mother always said, ‘I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be a grandmother, and then when I did I got one of each model,’” said Stacy, whose son and daughter, twins Connor and Caitlyn, were beloved by their grandmother.
Pat was a 4-H leader, an avid sewer, gardener and crafter, and a Litchfield Terriers champion first for her husband’s football and basketball squads, and then her daughters’ athletic teams.
Like the restoration of the canary-yellow MG, Pat may have been responsible for her courtship with Marv. When a group of Pat’s girlfriends were headed back to college one fall, they asked how the other young woman would spend her time. What was she going to do, they wondered? About that time the unsuspecting Mr. Smith walked past the group.
“I think I’m going to work on Marv Smith,” the young Pat told her friends.
The couple was married for 50 years.
Remembering Pat today are her daughters, Suzy Smith, Muncie, Ind., and Stacia “Stacy” Smith Ymbras, her husband Mark, and their twins Connor and Caitlyn of Marietta, Ga. She was preceded in death by her husband Marvin “Marv” Smith who died in 2010.
A visitation will be held Sunday, April 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Eagle Funeral Home-George White Chapel in Litchfield, Mich.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 24 at 3:00 pm at Pulliam Funeral Home in Robinson, Ill with burial in the New Robinson Cemetery to follow. The family will receive friends for visitation on Tuesday, April 24 from 1 pm until the time of service at Pulliam Funeral Home.
Memorials are suggested to the Litchfield District Library.