Kay Smith: School counselor, loving mother and grandmother

School counselor, loving mother and grandmother

Kay Smith, a longtime Claremont resident, died on April 15, 2014 at home due to complications from pulmonary fibrosis. She was surrounded by family and by the love and prayers of her numerous friends.

Mrs. Smith was born in Richmond, Indiana on February 17, 1941 to George and Virginia Otis. In 1948 she moved to Claremont with her grandparents, Edna and Paul Tacke, and her beloved younger sister Markeen, where they lived in the Russian Village.

Young Kay attended Sycamore Elementary School and Claremont High School (Class of 1958). It was there she met the love of her life, Jim Smith (CHS class of 1955).

Shortly after graduation, the couple was married at Claremont First Baptist Church and settled into their first home at Gale Ranch. Mr. Smith worked as a mechanic and was later the owner of Bill’s Brake Shop, located at the corner of First and Yale in downtown Claremont. Mrs. Smith was a stay-at-home mom with their children, Debbie and Bill, for several years.

Returning to school, Mrs. Smith received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in counseling from the University of La Verne. After completing her post-graduate certificate in high school counseling at Chapman College, she became a counselor at Bonita High School, retiring in 2008.

After retiring, Mrs. Smith became a volunteer at Pomona First Baptist Church where she was a member, at Pomona Valley Hospital and she also volunteered for the VNA Hospice in Claremont, which later cared for her.

Mrs. Smith continued to volunteer until a few months before she died. She was also the official Claremont tour guide for all her friends and extended family. She loved giving tours of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, the downtown area and all her favorite childhood locations.

Mrs. Smith also loved tending her extensive and beautiful rose garden and baking as well as planning and hosting holiday parties. She is remembered for her bright smile, her kindness and her generosity.

Mrs. Smith is survived by her children, Debbie (Daniel) Contreras and Bill Smith; by her grandchildren, Dustin (Jessica) Contreras, David Contreras, Jordyn Smith and Grant Smith; and by her great-grandchildren, Brandon Contreras and Elise Smith-Hughes.


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