Deaths Death Notices
SMITH, Helen (Freer)
SMITH - Helen (nee Freer)
May 31, 2013, at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, Colo., of cancer. She was 93. Mrs. Smith was born September 3, 1919, in Walworth , N.Y., daughter of Frank G. Freer and Maude Phillips Freer, and the youngest of 12 children. She received her teaching degree from Brockport State College, Rochester, N.Y., and a Master's Degree in Education from State University of New York in Buffalo. In 1947, she married George Benjamin McDowell in Wolcott, N.Y. The marriage later ended in divorce. She married Vincent C. Smith in 1977 in Buffalo, N.Y. Mrs. Smith started her teaching career in a one-room school in Warsaw, N.Y. She spent the majority of her teaching career as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist at Dodge Elementary School in the Williamsville, N.Y., school district. In her later years she spent time in Durango during the summer months where she enjoyed swimming, walking and her Durango grandchildren. In the winter, Mrs. Smith lived in Venice, Fla. A resident of Ridgewood Mobile Home Park, she sang in the Choraleers, played golf, and was a member of the shuffleboard team. She loved to line dance in Florida and at the Senior Center in Durango. She was an avid swimmer, reader and quilter. She liked nothing better than to eat popcorn and watch football on Sunday afternoons. She was a Buffalo Bills fan for years, but quickly became a Broncos fan when she was in Durango. Although she only had three grandchildren of her own, she was "Grandma" to many children in the neighborhood. She loved children and thought they should be read to every night. She always enjoyed reading to her children and grandchildren. Her family remembers, "Mom loved life and lived it fully. She always woke up with a smile and was game for anything. She was an inspiration to all who knew her."
She outlived all of her brothers and sisters. She is predeceased by her granddaughter Kathleen McDowell. Mrs. Smith is survived by her husband, Vincent Smith of Northville, Mich., sons Michael E. McDowell of Arboles, Colo., and Peter J. McDowell of Dublin, Ohio, daughter, Susan McDowell of Durango, Colo., three grandchildren in Dublin, Ohio, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held in Florida in January 2014. Her cremated remains will be buried in Wolcott, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to RIF - Reading is Fundamental, online or Attention Development Department, P.O. Box 33728, Washington, DC 20033 or the Wounded Warriors Project, online or 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256.