ATHENS — Vera Louise Smith, 75, of Athens, Ohio passed away on Friday May 29, 2009, at home with her family after a sudden fatal illness.
Vera was born during a dust storm on May 23, 1934, in Campbell, Nebraska, (Franklin County) to Oliver and Elsie Collison.
The daughter of a small-town mill owner and an artistically supportive mother, she grew up encouraged in many areas of the arts, especially music and dance.
She graduated from Kearney State College (UNK) with a BFA in music education.
She married Robert Dean Smith on June 26, 1955, and moved to Athens, Ohio in September of that year.
During the next chapters of her life, she bore three children, was a contestant in the Mrs. Ohio contest, and acted as a juvenile probation officer.
She then found her niche teaching music in a number of the area schools, culminating in a 20-year position as the music and choir director for the Athens Middle School and Athens High School, where she once said in an interview that “The joy of teaching is helping them realize they can do more than they think they can.”
She held offices in and was an important contributor to a number of professional organizations and community organizations relating to her career. Some of these included: The American Choral Directors’ Association, the Music Education National Conference and the Athens Music Club for which she served as president and primary organizer of the annual Music Club Benefit dinner. She was also a director for The Ohio Honors Chorale and accompanied many Ohio high school singers to Europe for many summers.
Always an active member of the community, she was a member of First United Methodist Church, where she scrupulously assisted with the Monday Lunch Program.
She was a volunteer at the Kennedy Museum of Art and the Dairy Barn.
She was always willing to contribute her time and boundless energy to anything involving music. Some of her projects included; helping with the music programs at Meigs Middle School, directing the Athens Renaissance Singers, playing tenor recorder in the Athens Recorder Consort and singing in the Ohio University Choral Union in addition to a number of church choirs over the years.
In her spare time, she enjoyed braiding rugs, world travel, cooking and keeping the cookie jar full for her family and many welcomed visitors.
Vera was preceded in death by her mother Elsie Collison; father Oliver Collison; and brothers Gaynor Collison and Robert Collison.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 54 years, Robert D. Smith; her children and their spouses, Gaynor and Geneice Smith of Clay Center, Nebraska, (Clay County) Scott and Cherie Smith of Wilmington, OH and Metra Peterson of Athens, OH.
She had eight grandchildren, Noelle Fox, Tera Hanson, Sean Peterson, Anson Smith, Chelsa Peterson, Brie Smith, Cameron Smith and Autumn Smith.
She is also survived by her two brothers, Lynn (Bud) Collison and Larry Collison.
A memorial service for Vera will be held at First United Methodist Church, Athens, Ohio on Saturday, June 6, at 2 p.m., with Pastor Mary Jo Yeakel officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Robert D. Smith Music Scholarship Fund at Ohio University or the Appalachian Community Hospice, 30 Herrold Ave., Athens OH 45701.
A note of condolence may be sent to the or sign the online register book at www.jagersfuneralhome.com