The Heroines

Jacqueline McCalla Smith

is honored with a Brick from Jan & Steve Randle, Becky & Mike Ritchey, Judy & Phil Frick, Carolyn & Roger Benefiel


Brief Bio: Jackie was born on November 1, 1923 in Hicksville, Ohio and died August 25, 2000 in Newton, KS after a bout with cancer. She graduated from Ohio University in 1946 with a BA; served as a graduate teaching fellow in child development, and obtained a master’s degree in 1948. Jackie pursued graduate credits at KSTC, Hutchinson Junior College, and Wichita State University. Her varied career included being a full time instructor in the child development center at Kansas State University, a caseworker in Juvenile Court, a staff member of a child guidance clinic, and a social worker for the American Red Cross in Wichita. Jackie, a wartime widow, married Lloyd Smith in 1948. Their children are Deborah Lyndall and Randall Thomas who joined William Bowen, Jackie’s son from her previous marriage.
Several years ago, four of us (Carolyn Benefiel, Judy Frick, Jan Randle, and Becky Ritchey) purchased a brick in the Plaza of Heroines to honor our dear friend and fellow Pi Phi, Jackie Smith, for her many accomplishments. Recently, we got together to compose a tribute to her. Her good friend and PI Phi, Sue Ice, also provided information.
Jackie collected people. She knew no strangers and could always make a connection between the person she just met and a mutual interest—whether it was another person or an issue. And she remembered everyone. The front of her refrigerator, layered with pictures of old friends and new friends and everyone in between, was a testament to her vast “collection.” The age range of this group had no limits. Jackie could relate to people of all ages. When she and Lloyd were invited to dinner at the Fricks, Judy reports that Jackie brought a lovely African violet, which she presented to their daughter, Christie. Five-year-old Christie glanced at the pot. Being both polite and honest, she said, “Thank you. Just what I don’t need.” Jackie loved it! Sue Ice reports that Jackie’s little bouquets from her garden tied with ribbons were legendary and another expression of her thoughtfulness.
Jackie loved social interaction with the friends who were part of her reading circle and PEO. She really enjoyed being a member of these groups but always managed to resign just as her turn to be president occurred. She did not like being bogged down with the organizational aspects of these groups. To give her credit, she knew her strengths. She also attended Pi Phi meetings regularly and hosted them from time to time. Her affiliations include the Presbyterian Church and the Junior League. One of us recalled being on her way to a Junior League provisional tea and encountering a few people who were just leaving. They were chuckling because “There’s a sustainer in there wearing a hat and gloves.” Guess who?!
Jackie not only collected stray people. She also collected stray animals. Much to the amusement of Sue Ice, the cat she banished from her house in a pique of frustration, followed Jackie’s son Randy home from school. The cat, which took up residence at the Smiths, was named Lincoln because he was found at Lincoln School. Jackie seemed to be unaware of the fact that the cat had been cast out by the Ices.
Jackie enjoyed a broad array of interests. The multiple stacks of books and magazines all over her house attested to the diversity of her interests and to the fact that she was well-read. Amazingly enough, she was always able to find the article or book she was searching. Sue Ice reports receiving many articles with information about trips they planned.
Jackie was also artistic. She took a sculpture class and did an excellent bust of her granddaughter. But it seems to be the only evidence of her artistic career.
One of her major interests was in historical preservation. Her own home is now on the historic register. She and Lloyd literally saved the Old Mill from the wrecking ball and worked hard to preserve Warkentine House. Their preservation efforts were recognized at the White House.
We truly enjoyed our get together to remember Jackie. She was a very special, unique individual, and we are all so blessed to have known her.