A long life, full of joy and sorrow, work and play, love, family and faith, ended on August 30 with the death of Clara Smith, age 94 years.
Clara was born to Jack and Clara Lees on June 19, 1927. She was born at home, and her father was to take horse and wagon to town to register her birth. He also had a list of names that her mother liked. Unfortunately, he lost the list, so he named her Clara.
She had two older brothers, Bill and Jim, and she had many memories of working alongside them on the family farm, but also of skiing with them and
In 1947, Clara married Leslie Smith and that began a 40 year vocation in farming. She drove grain trucks, nursed baby calves, raised chicks, sold cream and eggs, and kept the farm books. She loved her life on the farm and she loved her large garden. She could grow stunning flowers for the joy of beauty in her life, and she could grow vegetables for delicious fresh food and by canning and freezing, she provided food over the winter. If she was told that one particular plant could not grow in her climate, she immediately set out to prove that it would. If she could get the seed, she could grow it! She also let the food bank know that if they came out and dug potatoes and carrots, they could have them. She then proceeded to dig them all herself and deliver them to the food bank!
Clara and Leslie had two children, Jim and Debbie. This added chauffeuring, 4-H, curling, ball, and music lessons to her list of duties. Her life changed substantially when the two children left home for further education, and Leslie’s health suggested a move to town. She put her creative decorating skills to work in making their new town home attractive and she learned to slow down just a bit when it came to the many church activities in which she had always been involved. The circle of life continued with the birth of her grandsons, Keegan and Calum, and then the death of her husband. Arthritis plagued her and she suffered through several surgeries, which necessitated a move to Caleb Village and then to the Quill Plains Centennial Lodge in Watson.
She passed peacefully after a life well-lived, leaving son Jim and his wife Hazel; daughter Debbie; grandson Keegan and his partner Christine and son Beckett; grandson Calum and his wife Madiha; and sister Margaret and her family. She was predeceased by her parents and her brothers, whom she missed dearly.
The Bare Bones: The Boring Facts
Clara Lees was born to Jack and Clara Lees on June 19, 1927. She had two older brothers, Bill and Jim, and a younger sister, Margaret. She married Leslie Smith on April 28, 1947 and gave birth to son Jim in 1950 and daughter Debbie in 1955. She had two grandsons, Keegan and Calum, and a great-grandson, Beckett. She loved each family member unconditionally. She passed on August 30, 2021.
The Good Stuff: The Real Clara
Clara was an artisan! She was an artisan in keeping her farmhouse clean and attractive while on a strict budget. She was an artisan in the kitchen. Oh my that woman could cook! When the threshing crews were there and she was eight months pregnant, she fed them--huge quantities of good wholesome food. We heard that the crews liked to be at Leslie Smith’s place, because his wife was a great cook. Pastries, cinnamon buns, breads, pies, and her famous matrimonial cake were all temptations at her table. Jams! Jellies! Pickles! Wedding cakes! She won awards at the fair. She was an artisan in presentation as well. Not for her was throwing a few store-bought cookies onto a plate. No no no. Beautifully arranged dainties on a charming platter was her style. Wedding cakes lovingly decorated. Centrepieces handcrafted JUST SO. Embroidery stitches fine and evenly spaced. Dresses, scarves, and jewelry, chosen with a discerning eye. She never had a lot of money, but she always managed to look very put together indeed. Not for her was fame or fortune. Just the love of family and friends, the ability to help others when they needed it, and maybe, just maybe, someone’s heartfelt pushing away from the table and exclaiming, “That was delicious, Clara. Thank you.” Thank you, Mum, Sister, Gramma, Aunty, Clara
A Private Family service was held at Malinoski & Danyluik Funeral Home & Crematorium on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. with interment at Humboldt Public Cemetery. Memorial donations in Clara’s memory may be directed to Quill Plains Health Care Foundation or Legacy Land Trust Society.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Clara (Lees) Smith, please visit our tribute store.
Quill Plains Health Care Foundation Inc.
PO Box 277, Watson SK S0K 4V0
Legacy Land Trust Society
4801 49 Ave, Olds AB T4H 1E1