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Tuesday December 4, 2012

Marie Thérèse (Van Humbeck) Smith,
Nov 4, 1931 - Dec 1, 2012

Our mother, Marie Thérèse (Van Humbeck) Smith, died in the early hours of Saturday, December 1st, 2012, in Toronto. Mom had suffered for many years with progressive dementia and had become very frail. She died from complications from an infection that progressed very quickly, and her death was peaceful. Mom has five children and eight grandchildren: Louise Smith (Hussein Dostmohamed), Gregory Smith (Julia Grunau), Jennifer Smithwell (Martin Smithwell), Lionel Smith (Suzanne Gagnon) and Christopher Smith (Carrie Smith), as well as grandchildren Sophie, Joseph, Siena, Mason, Ryan, Sam, Hugh and Lionel. In addition, Mom leaves her siblings Gilbert (Anne), Adrienne (Martin), Ed (Terry) and Isabel and siblings-in-law Sue Van Humbeck, Lucille Van Humbeck and Art Doucette. She also leaves Smith brothers- and sisters-in-law Gerald (Doris), Lorraine (Jim), Neil (Carol), Leonard, Vivian (Gerry), Bernice (Ed), Debbie (Jim), Ron (Carol), Reg Skene (Annette), Leo Caumartin (Verla), Florence Smith and Marilyn Smith. Mom also has innumerable nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended Van Humbeck and Smith family across Canada, who will remember her with great fondness. Mom was married for 29 years to our Dad, Lionel Raymond Smith, who died in 1984. Mom was also predeceased by her parents, Elise (Robert) Van Humbeck and Fred Van Humbeck and by her siblings: Francis (Sue), Aimé and his wife Doreen, Ray (Lucille), Solange and her husband Pat Daggitt, as well as Elaine (Art). Solange and Elaine passed away only weeks prior to Mom. Mom was also close to her Smith sisters-in-law who died before her: Merle (Neil), Verla (Leo) and Annette (Reg).Mom grew up and went to school in Laurier, Manitoba, where her family farmed. Although resources prevented her from attending university, she was academically gifted and went on to train as a teacher. She taught in rural schools in Manitoba and later worked in Winnipeg. She married our Dad in Laurier in 1955. Over the years through to the late 70s, our family moved many times as a result of Dad's job with Shell, and Mom made homes for us in Toronto, Sudbury, Montréal and England, while shepherding her five children through countless schools. She travelled extensively with our Dad and our family; later after his death she continued to travel and see the world with friends and family. Mom always made a comfortable home for us wherever we lived and was selfless in devoting her time to the endless needs, studies and dramas of her children and a menagerie of pets. Mom was always singing and was very musical. In later life she sang and travelled with the Sweet Adelines Chorus from Scarborough, Ontario. She also began to make art, something she loved but for which there was little time in her earlier life. She went back to school and studied many things, from computer science to psychology, and volunteered for the Cancer Society and other causes. Mom had a love of language, and especially the French language. She was a voracious and wide reader, a kitchen gardener and canner, an adventurous eater, an unparalleled cook and an accomplished seamstress. Between her nine siblings and Dad's ten, Mom had a massive extended family that was geographically spread out, and she always made time to keep up with them. She hosted countless large family gatherings with mountains of food and baking that were a hallmark of our lives growing up. In the last years of her life, Mom was not able to recognize her children or other relatives, but she was able to respond to people around her in a positive way. She needed lots of care and we thank the caregivers that afforded her a dignified and graceful life and death. These were the staff of Extendicare Rouge Valley, as well as Mom's own daily carers over the years: Barbara, Juvelyn, Winnie, Sherri and Victoria. Special thanks to Auntie Isabel for the constant cross-town visits. As Mom's illness progressed, our brother Lionel was tirelessly devoted as her trustee, ensuring that she had the resources she needed to be comfortable. Our sister Jennifer was trustee for Mom's health care and was a thorough and passionate advocate for her. Rather than flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada in our mother's name. DonateNow
Family will receive friends and visitors from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Ogden Funeral Home in Scarborough, at 4164 Sheppard Avenue East, on Thursday, December 6th, a Mass will follow in the funeral home chapel. Mom, we hope that you knew how much we loved you.

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