Maxine Smith's family says she shared faith, seemed to have direct line to God

November 26, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Rita Maxine Wilder Smith, who died Nov. 18 at the age of 64. Her obituary appeared in the Nov. 20 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

Maxine Smith called it "Rain TV."

When a sudden storm combined to knock out the power and any possibility for outdoor play, Eric Smith said his mother had a rather unique way of keeping him and his sister from dwelling on their fear and disappointment when they were youngsters.

"We had this puffy white chair, and Cassandra and I would sit there when we couldn't go out," Eric said. "Mom taught us how to count between the lightning and the thunder ... she'd fix hot chocolate, do other things and we'd always feel better."


Rita "Maxine" Smith died Nov. 18 at the age of 64.

As a grown man, Eric said he was surprised that he thought of "Rain TV" first when asked to recall experiences with his mother.

"Where I live now, it snows more than it rains, but I'll always remember 'Rain TV,'" Eric said.

Eric last spoke with his mother by telephone from his home in Maine on the morning of her passing ... a death which was quite unexpected. Two weeks after knee surgery, she told Eric she was feeling fine.

"She put me at ease ... she had a way of doing that," Eric said of that phone call.

Eric's wife, Megan, said she got to talk with Maxine, or "Meemaw," as did two of the couple's three children. "Ava is just 6 months old," Megan said.

The next call came from Eric's father telling him that his mother had passed away.

Just six months ago, Maxine went to Maine for Ava's birth, and while she was there, the birthdays of all three of Eric and Megan's children were celebrated at the hospital, Megan said.

Eric said his mother always had told him he would be the Christian leader of his family.

"But now, she's not there for me, and I'm not finished learning from her," he said.

Daughter Cassandra Daigneault, who lives in Ohio, also has three children. She said her mother always had time for her and her brother, not only when they were growing up, but when they became adults and parents, too.

"When I lived here, she gave me every Monday, which was her day off," Cassandra said. "She came and did whatever I needed."

Maxine was a medical records supervisor at Frederick (Md.) Memorial Healthcare System.

Cassandra said her mother not only shared her time, but her faith in God and her love of music with her and her brother.

"Nothing meant more to her than her faith," Cassandra said. "It was her mission to teach everyone about Jesus."

Maxine's husband, William, said he and Maxine met in a mixed bowling league in Hagerstown.

"After that, we saw each other every day until I proposed," he said.

They were married on June 11, 1967.

"In the past 39 1/2 years with Maxine, we've laughed together, we've cried together, we've shared together and we've prayed together," William said. "It is going to be very difficult to try to do all of these things without her."

But William said he knows she would want him to continue to live the balance of his life for his family and their friends just as if she still were here.

Reeling from their sudden loss, the Smith family already is strengthening those ties, and taking comfort from Maxine's example as a wife, mother and grandmother.

"I can't imagine who had a more direct line to God than my mom," Eric said.

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