Jane Smith98, school librarian, president of Moravian Manor residents

By on March 15, 2012

Jane Gray Smith, 98, of Lancaster, passed away Friday, March 9, 2012 at Moravian Manor.

Born in West Chester, she was the wife of the late Lawrence S. Smith for 47 years. She was the daughter of the late Harry E. and Ida McNally Smith.

Mrs. Smith graduated from Phoenixville High School as valedictorian and recipient of the Alumni Award for General Excellence. At Millersville State Teachers College (now University), she received her bachelor of science in education and was awarded the Wickersham Scholarship at the end of her junior year. Upon graduation she received top honors in the four-year group and also the prize for mathematics. Later she earned a master’s degree in literature from Penn State University and a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. After working as high school librarian at West Lampeter, Phoenixville and Manheim Township, she was called in 1942 by Millersville to teach library science and supervise the Training School library. She also taught summer classes at Penn State, West Virginia and Columbia Universities. In 1953 Mrs. Smith was asked to create the position of supervisor of school libraries for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. During these years she traveled around the state and frequently spoke to school board meetings, PTAs, teacher workshops, etc. For several summers she gave weekly book reviews at the Chautauqua side of Mt. Gretna.

She was an accomplished violinist who played in all of her school and college orchestras as well as many ensemble groups. She was a frequent soloist for church and various clubs. She was a charter member of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra until she was 85 years old but continued to play with the Highland Church Orchestra.

Jane’s husband of 47 years, Lawrence S. Smith, died in 1989. During their summer months they traveled widely on this continent and in Europe. They shared two sabbaticals, each time for four months. The first one was in Egypt and the Near East, and after buying a Volkswagen, going north with the Spring through Europe. The second was a trip around the world, most of it spent in Asia.

Her hobbies were gardening, bridge, reading and various kinds of needlework. Two pictures of her needlepoint won first place in the State Festival of Arts in 1986.

After her retirement as associate professor of literature from West Chester University, she began to play golf and was a member of the nine-hole golfers at Overlook until she was 95.

She was a member of Highland Presbyterian Church. In her former church in West Chester she was an ordained deacon and elder, the chairman of the music and worship committee that persuaded the congregation to buy a pipe organ. Her memberships included the American Library Association, Lancaster Chapter of School Librarians, the NEA and PSEA, the American Association of University Women, the Musical Arts Society, Towne Club, Iris Club, Clio Society, Lititz Women’s Club, Quadrangle Club and Delta Kappa Gamma (an honorary educational group). In recent years Jane has been a resident of Moravian Manor, where she has been a president of the Residents Association and Apcot Group. In 2000 she received the Mildred Benner Award for service to the Manor.

Mrs. Smith is survived by a sister: Louise Hetherington, of West Chester; a niece: Nancy, wife of Norman St. Laurent, of Omaha, Neb.; a nephew: Dennis Hetherington, of West Chester; a nephew: Russ, husband of Linda Craig, of Rock Hill, S.C.; a nephew: Tom, husband of Lauren Smith, of Ephrata; a nephew: John Smith, of Harrisburg; great-niece: Stacy, wife of Greg Miller, and their four children; a great- nephew: Scott, husband of Lindsay Hetherington, of Highlands Ranch, Colo. For many years she has enjoyed the company of her good friend: Dr. Robert E. Johns.

A memorial service was held March 14 at at Moravian Manor, Lititz, with Chaplin Rich Thierolf officiating. Interment took place at Terre Hill United Methodist Evangelical Church Cemetery.

Memorial contributions in her honor may be sent to the Wickersham Scholarship Fund at Millersville University, 1 S. George St., Millersville, PA 17551, or to the Moravian Manor Foundation at the address above.

To send an online condolence, visit kasnyderfuneralhome.com.

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