Geraldine Smith: A Donor Story

Geraldine Smith: A Donor Story

The North East community lost one of its leading citizens in 2012 with the passing of Iva Geraldine “Gerri” Smith. Gerri was a founding member of the NECF and was our most avid supporter.

Gerri Smith, died on Thursday, July 12, 2012. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio, on January 12, 1922, the daughter of the late Leroy O. and Clara Marks Davis. Raised in Hubbard, Ohio, she was a graduate of Hubbard High School, then attended Youngstown College and Ohio State University, and later took several library courses from Penn State Behrend and Mercyhurst College.

Before coming to North East, Mrs. Smith and her husband Russell were residents of Oil City, Pa. for 15 years. In 1957, the Smiths moved to North East, and she became the Librarian/Director of McCord Memorial Library. After 27 years, she retired from McCord Library and later became affiliated with St. Mary's Seminary as librarian and teacher of remedial reading until its closing in 1987.

Mrs. Smith was active in the North East Community, serving as a member of the Tourism Division of the North East Area Chamber of Commerce, where she also served on the Board of Directors. She was on the committee for Wine Country USA; a member of the North East Community Fair Board of Directors, and was one of the producers of "150 Years of Fashion Plus," the story of North East's history and fashion. In 1988 she was honored by the North East Exchange Club "The Book of Golden Deeds" award.

In 1992, Mrs. Smith was one of the incorporators of the North East Arts Council and the North East Historical Society. She helped those organizations combine their efforts to raise all the funds necessary to renovate and restore the 1880 Town Hall/Fire Station to create a center for the arts and a home for the North East Historical Society's Museum.

During the 1990s, Gerri served on the North East Community Foundation\'s Board of Directors and the Advisory Board and Dean's Council of Mercyhurst North East College. In 2000 she received awards from the North East Area Chamber of Commerce and Mercyhurst North East College for her many volunteer hours. In 2007 Mrs. Smith was presented the first Lake & Smith Award by the North East Community Foundation for Excellence in Community Service. She attended the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, was a member of the Order of Eastern Star Shiloh Chapter #153, AARP North East Chapter #3874, and the Woman's Club of North East. When not volunteering for her community, she enjoyed traveling, gardening, and reading.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Smith was preceded in death by her husband, Russell S. Smith; a daughter, Sondra Smith Richter; and a brother, Harry G. Davis. Survivors include four grandchildren: Fredric G. Richter II of South Lyon, Michigan, Matthew S. Richter and wife Diane of Huntersville, North Carolina, twin granddaughters, Kristi Richter Dooley and husband Joel of Tamarac, Florida and Wendi Richter Osborne and husband Joshua of Douglasville, Georgia; a step-daughter, Elizabeth Ann Smith Kresovich and husband George of California; five great-grandchildren, several cousins, nieces, and a nephew.

Before her death, Gerri created the Geraldine Smith Fund, which will help to ensure the continued success of this organization. The Fund is a testament to her vision of making the North East Community Foundation an organization that can make a difference in the lives of our residents through the funding of charitable programs for our community.