Harriet Grace Jennings Smith passed away quietly in the early morning hours of May 29, 2016.
Grace was born April 29, 1918 in Provo, Utah to Harriet "Retta" Zipporah Webb and David Stout Jennings. Born Grace Jennings, she legally added her mothers name later in life. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Logan, where her father had obtained a position with the Utah Agricultural College.
Grace grew up in Logan, attending Logan High School and graduating from Utah State Agricultural College, with a degree in English. Grace recalled her college years with obvious fondness, remembering how depression-era students could get an inexpensive lunch from the Aggie dairy. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
While at USAC, Grace met her future husband, Arthur Dwight Smith. They were married Sept. 10, 1941. During World War II Arthur served in the Army Air Corps, and for a brief period the young family resided in Georgia. In 1944 he was deployed to the Pacific Theater, and Grace returned to Logan to be near her parents. She frequently recalled the cross-country trip from Georgia, under wartime gas rationing. Her husband's absence left her as the lone parent of two young boys under the age of two.
Following the war, the young family moved to Providence, where they would reside, with one brief interruption, for the next four decades. Grace raised five children in Providence, and was active in the First Ward Relief Society, PTA, 4H, and Cache County Planning and Zoning.
Grace reenrolled at Utah State University, earning a Master's degree in Foods and Nutrition in 1961. Thereafter, she was an instructor in the College of Family Life for three years, teaching nutrition and home economics classes; and taught for several years in the Box Elder County school system.
Between 1966 and 1968 Grace and her family lived in the Washington, DC suburbs in Alexandria Virginia, while her husband served on the staff of a Congressional commission. She had a keen interest in politics and enjoyed attending various congressional hearings, once (literally) bumping into President Johnson as he departed a senate office. She was a staunch, if beleaguered, Cache Valley Democrat.
Grace was predeceased by her husband and one son, Ralph Jennings Smith. She is survived by her four children, Arthur Dwight Smith, Jr., Howard Lot Smith, Courtney Bingham Smith, and Alice Ann Smith Aldous; as well as ten grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.
She was generous, broad-minded, and abhorred injustice. She provided constant encouragement to children and grandchildren to achieve their God-given potentials. She used her bully pulpit at the dinner table for lessons in grammar and English literature, world events, etiquette, and nutrition. In her waning years, she took pleasure in reading aloud to residents of her assisted living community, and almost always had a book with her.
Grace loved people and often would start a conversation with almost anyone who sat next to her. She cherished belonging to various groups, including Ex Libris, her bridge club, and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers; and served others through literacy tutoring, various committees at USU, and her wards in Providence and later in the Hillcrest area of Logan. Grace also loved her service in the Logan LDS Temple.
Grace was an accomplished seamstress and homemaker, and from an early age committed herself to raising a family. She produced a virtually endless supply of preserved fruits, vegetables, jams, and jellies. She outdid herself at the holidays, starting preparations months ahead of time, and creating hand-dipped chocolates, caramel rolls, and homemade fruitcakes that were a delight to her friends and family. Nothing made her happier than cooking a wonderful meal and sharing time, especially with her children and grandchildren.
She was not bashful about walking her own path through life, frequently telling her children "Well, we don't do things just because other people do them." She was an active participant in her family's annual deer hunt, successfully bagging a mule deer on at least one occasion. She enjoyed the outdoors, camping with her family and fly fishing with her husband. After retirement, Grace and Art traveled quite a bit, visiting Africa, Australia, Mexico, the Middle East, and Europe.
As true as her moral compass was, her geographic compass was often in error. Her family teased her mercilessly about an incident in Virginia when they watched from the front yard as she drove down the street looking for the house on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, she could laugh at herself.
USU played an important role in Grace's life. This was perhaps inevitable, as she was the spouse of one professor, the daughter of another, and an alumnus in her own right. Grace and Art established three scholarships at USU, and she remained an active alumnus and supporter of the Aggie basketball and football teams. She was also a fan of the Utah Jazz.
As her health declined, Grace carried her spunk, care for others and winning smile to the end.
Funeral arrangements are being provided by Allen-Hall Mortuary in Logan. A visitation is set from 6 to 8pm on Sunday (6/5) and a memorial service for Monday at 11 am. A viewing/gathering from 9:30 to 10:30 will precede the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to one or more of the following scholarships at Utah State University:
The David S. & Retta W. Jennings Scholarship in the Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate The Arthur Dwight Smith Scholarship in the Department of Wildland Resources The Ralph Jennings Smith Creative Writing Endowment in the Department of English