GENEVA E. SMITH

Geneva E. Smith of Wilmington, Delaware passed away on Sunday, June 18th, 2017 after a short illness. At the time of her death, she was on an extended visit in Ohio, staying at The Briarwood Health Care Community in Stow, Ohio.

Geneva (“Jan”) was born in 1922 in Wellesley, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thelma Olive (Pope) Elder and George Gardner Elder of Fitchburg and later West Medway, Massachusetts. She was the second of twelve children. Geneva is preceded in death by her husband Kenneth B. Smith, her parents, and ten of her siblings including Judith (Elder) Scott, Hugh Elder, David Elder, Robert Elder, Jonathan Elder, Andrew Elder, Donald Elder, Steven Elder, Diane (Elder) Piacentini, and George Dustin Elder.

Geneva attended the Burbank School of Nursing at Burbank Hospital in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, graduating as an R.N. in 1942 and beginning a long and fulfilling career as a nurse. During her professional lifetime, she witnessed the rise of sulfa drugs and then the astounding success of antibiotics, the discovery of the polio vaccine, and became expert in reading Electrocardiograms, “EKGs”. She worked in all aspects of nursing, including surgery and post-operative, obstetrics, pediatrics and geriatrics. She worked in TB wards and polio wards, and was always passionate about the Nursing Profession. She served in the U.S. Navy during WW2 as a Navy Nurse, stationed in Chelsea Naval Hospital. While in Fitchburg, she met her future husband Ken Smith, who also enlisted in the Navy for the duration of the war. They married in January 1946 and moved to Providence, R.I. where she worked in the Providence Hospital while he finished his engineering degree through the G.I. Bill, attending Brown University. In 1947 they moved to Clarence, New York. There, Jan and Ken started their family and he built their home. They enjoyed their life in Clarence and had many enduring friendships with other young married couples also building their homes in the post-war time.

In 1965 they moved to Wilmington, Delaware, and a few years later Jan began working at the Methodist Country House as an RN, where she worked until 1992, retiring at age 70. They lived in Windybush, and many may remember the Saturday morning “Coffee Klatches” that were held at their house, with Jan serving up hot blueberry muffins with the coffee. She loved good conversations, good mysteries, good recipes and good bridge games, and always enjoyed learning.

After Ken passed away in 2014 after 68 years of marriage, she lived for a time at Sunrise Assisted Living Community in Wilmington. Jan is survived by two daughters and their families: Nancy Smith and her step-son Tim Seyfert (of Wilmington, Delaware), and Alison Smith and her husband Bernhard Dirska and their daughter Elizabeth Dirska (of Silver Lake, Ohio). She also leaves her sister Jean (Elder) Chamberlin of Woodsville, New Hampshire, and many nieces and nephews and their families. Jan will be placed to rest in the Veterans’ Cemetery in Delaware, next to her husband’s grave. Her family thanks Sunrise of Wilmington and The Briarwood of Stow, Ohio for their care of Jan in her final years.

A Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 am on Tuesday June 27th at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1120 Darley Road, Wilmington, DE 19810, where friends may greet the family from 9:00 to 10:00 am. Interment with military honors will follow at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear, DE.

In lieu of flowers, Jan would prefer donations to the American Heart Association, 200 Continental Dr., Suite 101, Newark, DE 19713.