Louise K. Smith, a retired Harford County public school kindergarten educator and longtime volunteer, died Aug. 27 at her Havre de Grace home from complications of recent surgery. She was 84.
A daughter of an artist and a homemaker, the former Louise Keck was born and raised in Queens, N.Y., and was a 1944 graduate of Andrew Jackson High School in St. Albans, Queens.
She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Queens College in New York City, and a master's degree in reading education from what is now Towson University.
Mrs. Smith taught for 22 years at Darlington and Halls Crossroads elementary schools until retiring in 1989.
She was awarded the title of master teacher, an award given to teachers who embody excellence in leadership education. At the time of her retirement, Gov. William Donald Schaefer presented her a citation in recognition of her more than two-decade teaching career.
Mrs. Smith and her husband of 62 years, Raymond W. Smith, a retired businessman, were volunteer teachers in the Harford Community College Literacy Program. She also tutored students.
She was a hospice volunteer for 17 years, where she visited individuals and families who faced terminal illness, often bringing homemade food that she had prepared.
Mrs. Smith volunteered at Grace Place, a Havre de Grace soup kitchen.
"As part of her dedication to children, she hand-sewed and crocheted countless child-sized blankets and quilts, with each one being unique and special so that no two children would ever be confused about who owned that particular blanket," said a daughter, Holly Smith of Newark, Del.
"She donated these to hospitals and organizations in Harford County and Baltimore," said Ms. Smith. "She also donated teddy bears to the Harford County Sheriff's Department to be given to children in need of them."
Mrs. Smith was an accomplished cook who enjoyed entertaining family and friends. A conservationist, she liked organizing and leading nature hikes with her husband along the trails at Susquehanna State Park.
Ms. Smith said that her mother never "let challenges deter her."
"She used challenges as steppingstones to finding new answers, hidden strengths and new ways of doing things," she said.
At Mrs. Smith's request, there will be no services.
In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Smith is survived by two sons, Randy Smith of Baltimore and Richard Smith of Colora; four other daughters, Linda Smith of Durham, N.C., Candy Tatem of Poolville, Texas, Danita St. Clair of Roanoke, Va., and Kathleen Jackman of Worcester, Vt.; and six grandchildren.