The Heroines

Catherine Weaver Smither

is honored with a Medium Paver from Mary Catherine Smither Norr, William J. Smither, and William Christopher Smither.

 Catherine Weaver Smither 1918-1998

Right or wrong, I was always all right, and there was always someone to tell me so. Always someone on my side. May I always be grateful.
Submitted by her son, William Christopher Smither (b. 1944)

A close friend of mom had a nickname for her: "Lovely Madame Smither," often reduced to "LMS." It is appropriate. Mom combined the hard working simplicity of a Kansas woman with the cosmopolitan experience of a world citizen and traveler.

She was the deeply loved and loving companion of my dad. She gladly joined him in projects and adventures, from re-finishing a sailboat, to repairing and decorating the house, to the biggest life choices of job changes and where to live in this country and abroad. Her practical common sense and know-how made ideas become concrete realities.

Even before marriage she had confided to a friend that she hoped to have twins, and when, to her delight Chris and I were born, Mom and Dad included us from the start in what interested them: travel and diverse cultures, education and learning, art and music, gardening and "homesteading," politics, social and family gatherings, the art of conversation. The list goes on.

Mom reached for what she wanted and also accepted what life brought. She loved life and passed that legacy on to me.
Submitted by her daughter, Mary Catherine Smither Norr (b. 1944)

I asked our children to provide a short statement of 25 to 50 words. Chris obeyed, pointing up his most cherished memory of his mother. To that I might add her very careful, almost obsessive, attention to his actions and progress over the years. Mary Catherine almost preempted what I might say, and I could not bring myself to edit out her obviously deeply-felt sentiments. But I must say something. No doubt many husbands have felt and said that the wife and marriage were as nearly perfect as those things can get. I am one of them. It has often been asserted that if a man manages to do something there is probably a probably a woman behind it. In the few things that I did Catherine was clearly in evidence. She rejoiced with me in good times and kept me on an even keel when alone I could have foundered.

I have always been proud of Catherine's achievements: her skill in driving that yellow Chevy to Wichita University and delivering me to my night shift at the Red Star Mill, her ability to raise children and keep house in Spanish and French, her many years of work in the Tulane/Newcomb Art Department that ranged from maintenance of slide projectors to research into the arcana of Newcomb pottery, her critical analysis of what I might have the nerve to write. She was the capable and crucially helpful wife of an impecunious graduate student and the charming wife of a faculty member, department chairman, and dean. Throughout our long years of work and into retirement she remained my best friend and most trusted confidante and companion.

April 22, 1999 (for Catherine Weaver Smither)