Viola (Blondie) Smith, 93, passed away Tuesday, March 22, 2011 peacefully at home.
She was born in Emerson, Manitoba on Sept. 10, 1917, to John A, Voelpel and Mary Boss Voelpel, the third of four children. Her father worked for the US Immigration Service and so her childhood was spent in upper Minnesota and North Dakota in small towns along the Canadian border.
She played girls basketball in highschool in Portal, North Dakota, and was an avid basketball and NBA fan all her life. After highschool she went to Business College in Kenmare, North Dakota and worked for the power company. In 1939 she met Glenn Smith and they were married Sept. 22, 1940 in a double wedding along with their friends Bill and Blanch Westlake in Kenmare. They began their married life in the Black Hills of South Dakota where Glenn worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Shortly thereafter he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and they moved to Florida while he was in Officer Candidate School. Their first child, Gene Smith, was born in 1943 in Lubbock, TX where they were stationed. After that, Glenn went overseas with the Flying Tigers to the CBI theater of WWII, while Blondie returned to Hope, North Dakota, to live with Glenns parents, Sam and Alma Smith. Their second child, Mary Ann, was born in Fargo, North Dakota in 1945 while Glenn was still overseas.
After the war, they moved to Fargo and then Minot, North Dakota, where Glenn worked for the Veterans Administration and Blondie was active with her kids and their various scout and music activities. Their third child, Rebecca (Becky) was born in Minot in 1953. In 1954 they transferred to the VA hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, and also bought a peach orchard surrounding their home in the Palisades area. Together with their children they raised fruit, chickens, raspberries and Blondie canned a lot of peaches. In 1958 they transferred to the VA Hospital at Ft. Bayard, NM where Glenn was the chief of personnel. Viola went to work in real estate in 1959 and bought out her partner, Fern Shell, just as Ft. Bayard was becoming a state hospital. The company, formerly Smith & Shell Real Estate, became Smith Real Estate in 1964. Glenn took an early retirement from the VA and together the couple began importing and breeding Spanish Andalusian horses. Blondie was the president of the local Board of Realtors in 1964 and the president of the Silver City Chamber of Commerce in 1966. She served on the NM state board of Realtors as SW Vice President in 1968. She was involved in the development, sales and naming of several local subdivision projects, including Silver Acres, Mockingbird Hill and Canyon de Oro, and the Wheaton Smith Hotsprings Ranch. She was one of the founding directors of First State Bank of Silver City. In 1984 she retired from real estate in order to be at home with husband and Becky took over the company, although Viola kept an active real estate license until her death. She was honored by the National Association of Realtors with the designation of Realtor Emeritus in 2009 for her over 40 years in the real estate profession. In 1978 Glenn and Blondie began building their home on their ranch in the Mimbres where she continued to live on her own for 17 years after Glenn passed away in 1994..
She was an inspiration to her many friends and neighbors, and even her doctors. One of them posted a YouTube video of Viola, a short extemporaneous interview with advice on aging gracefully. She enjoyed playing the piano, listening to her family play music, swimming, gardening and keeping up with family and friends. Her mind was a treasure trove of information on local real estate history and she continued her interest in the local market all her life.
She is survived by her three children, Gene of St. Louis, MO, Mary Ann (& husband Zeff Marusich) of Andover, MA, and Becky (& fiancé Ken Ladner) of Silver City; her younger sister Mary Lindstrom of Moorhead, MN, her grandchildren Glenn Smith of OFallon, MO, David Smith of Bentonville, AR, Timothy Cordova of Albuquerque, NM and Trevor Thayer of Silver City, and her great-grandchildren Bryan and Sam Cordova of Albuquerque, Sydney and Glenn Thayer and Bella Mia Silva of Silver City, and Andrew, Megan and Morgan Smith of OFallon, MO, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service and celebration of Violas well-lived life will be held Monday, March 28, at 2 pm at Bacas Funeral Chapel on the corner of Delk Drive and Hwy 180 E. with a reception for all friends and family immediately following at Smith Real Estate, 505 W. College. A private interment will take place at the Crown S cemetery on the family ranch.
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Entrusted to the care of Bacas Funeral Chapels of Silver City, 3805 Delk Drive. Phone 388-2334. Exclusive provider for Veterans & Family Memorial Care.
Born: September 10, 1917
Place of Birth: Emerson, MB Canada
Death: March 22, 2011
Place of Death: Crown S Ranch,Mimbres, NM USA
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