Smith, Pauline Marie Tower Mrs. – Obituary

Halfway, Baker County, Oregon

Pauline Marie Smith, 84, of Halfway, died April 11, 2006, at her home surrounded by her family.

Her memorial service was Saturday at the Presbyterian Church in Halfway. The Rev. Bill Shields officiated.

Pauline was born on Feb. 1, 1922, on a farm outside of Salem to Gordon E. and Bessie Tower. Pauline attended school at Salem until she was 12, at which time she began spending summers and eventually living with her older sister, Ellen, in Eugene. Pauline’s mother had died when Pauline was a baby, and Ellen became a central person in Pauline’s life — part mother, sister and best friend.

Pauline was a 1939 graduate of Eugene High School and went on to attend the University of Oregon for one year. During this time, she rented a room in a house owned by a lovely lady, Mrs. Jackson. Pauline met several lifelong friends at Mrs. Jackson’s and recounts this significant event associated with that household in her memoirs: “It was Mrs. J who introduced us to opera. It was not necessarily by choice, but was what you woke up to each Saturday morning, and it became a permanent appreciation the rest of my life. We also learned to eat braised kidneys. That did not become a permanent fix!”

After her year at the University of Oregon, Pauline began working for Pacific Northwest Bell and describes her career in her memoirs: “My career at Pacific Northwest Bell started as a switchboard operator. You had two cords in front of you – one to plug into the light and say ‘Number please,’ and the other to locate the number being called in this bank of numbers in front of you. Since my voice was often recognized by various friends, I occasionally got in trouble for talking.”

It was at the phone company that Pauline met her life partner, Ken Smith. They were married on June 15, 1946, at Eugene, and Pauline began her excellent career as a full-time mother and homemaker.

During the years in Eugene, Pauline met and raised children with several neighbors. Pauline explains this in her writings: “We had 12 to 15 preschool children at one time. Marge, June and I would get together over a cup of coffee and laugh and cry over the day’s events.”

Pauline developed deep friendships in Eugene that endured for many years and through Pauline and Ken’s decision to move from Eugene to Halfway in 1979. Pauline remembers having a few doubts about the move to Halfway, but soon began to love the peaceful beauty of her home and surrounding countryside. Pauline made friends easily in this small community that she grew to love.

Pauline often laughed over how she and Kenny met some of their first friends in Halfway, Tom and Nancy McCord. Pauline accidentally stepped on the heel of Nancy’s shoe during initiation into the grange and the two became dear friends, both having recently moved to Halfway.

Pauline became a member of the Carson Club and enjoyed many years of friendship and many good dessert recipes with that group. Pauline was an avid reader and found her kindred spirit of books with her fellow Carson Club member, Madeline Engstrom. They shared their “favorite reads” and a special friendship that changed to frequent phone calls and visits after the Engstroms moved first to Baker City and then to northern California. Pauline donated many books to the local library.

Pauline was an active member of the Pine Valley Community Museum and was instrumental in lining up the volunteer staffing during open museum season. She volunteered for many years as a proofreader for the Hells Canyon Journal, enjoying everyone who worked there and taking treats to share. Pauline also helped with the Pine-Eagle Health Planning Committee board elections.

Pauline made many trips over the years, returning to visit old friends in Eugene. She always, and without fail, remarked at how happy she was to return home to Halfway.

Pauline was her family’s focal point of special birthday dinners, huge holiday gatherings, countless meals, constant correspondence, and unconditional acceptance and love.

Her positive, calm attitude and sunny disposition will be missed by the many, many people who felt fortunate to have known her, her family said.

Survivors include her daughters, Ellen Smith of Seattle, Wash., and Lynne Smith of Halfway; daughter and son-in-law, Karen and David Andruss of Halfway; sons and daughters-in-law, Dain and Kathy Smith of Eugene, and Mark and Kathy Smith of Richland, Wash.; daughter-in-law, Terry Christman of Apache Junction, Ariz.; and her three grandsons, David Smith, Kenneth Smith and Matthew Smith.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenny; and her youngest son, Paul Smith.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Pine Valley Community Museum, Pathway Hospice of Baker City, or a charity of one’s choice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 21, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor


White, Judy Wallis. Baker County, Oregon Obituaries. Published by Copyright 1999-2013, all rights reserved.

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