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Lois Smith Harrison

1924-DEC. 15, 2012

December 17, 2012
  • Lois Smith Harrison
Submitted photo

Lois Smith Harrison, a selfless, community-minded woman whose smile was full of love and faith and whose heart gave without limit, joined the Lord’s choir invisible Dec. 15, 2012.

Lois adored her late husband, Richard Lee Harrison, with whom she shared 61 years of spiritual union and from whom she could bear separation for only three months’ time.

Mourned by her three children, Elizabeth Boyce (Arthur), Margaret Harrison and Richard Harrison (Renate); five grandchildren, Emily and Harrison Boyce, Franziska Harrison, and Hillary and Hunter (Jolie) Wade; and a sister, Jeanne Smith Gardes. She will ever be in their hearts.

The middle child of R. Paul and Henrietta Menges Smith, Lois was born in 1924 in Frederick, Md. After her graduation from Hagerstown High School in 1941, Lois began a lifelong attachment with Hood College as a member of the Class of 1945.

Exhibiting her independence and personal pursuit of excellence, Lois adventured to New York’s Columbia University to earn her Master of Arts in school administration in 1946.

Drawn back to her roots, Lois returned home to take on the challenge of starting Hagerstown Junior College, now Hagerstown Community College. As HJC’s first employee, Lois hired most of the school’s faculty and served as registrar, counselor, professor of sociology and psychology, and chaperone for the men’s basketball team. She taught her future husband, Dick, after he joined HJC’s inaugural class. In the college’s early days, Lois knocked on doors and encouraged people to believe that they could earn a college degree — and then helped them make this dream come true.

In 2007, Hagerstown Community College honored Lois and Dick in a student scholarship fundraising tribute dinner.

Imbued by her parents with a strong sense of civic spirit, Lois contributed her time, talent, treasure and counsel to numerous organizations and endeavors. She served as president of the Washington County Hospital (Meritus) Auxiliary and later as chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees. As a member of the WCH Auxiliary, Lois invoked her musical gifts to adapt the lyrics from popular songs for comic effect to tease staff and administrators on the annual staff appreciation day.

For her alma mater, Lois first served as president of Hood College’s Alumnae Association and then as chairman of the board of associates. Later, she became the first alumna chairman of the board of trustees, a position in which she served for 15 years. In tribute, Hood awarded Lois the Excellence in Service to Hood College Award in 1978 and then bestowed upon her an honorary Doctor of Humanities in 1993. From 1972 to 1975, Lois again worked to enhance public educational opportunities by serving on the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education.

As a testament to a lifetime of community service, The Herald-Mail honored Lois as its first female recipient of Person of the Year Award in 2006.

Lois’ spiritual home since childhood was Christ’s Reformed Church, where she taught Sunday school for 50 years. Using her leadership skills, she also served as president of the consistory, president of Church Women United, elder, soloist and director of the children’s choir. As a testament to her deep faith, Lois celebrated the church’s 150th anniversary by writing a book about its history titled “With Courage and Vision.”

Most at home in her kitchen, Lois loved to cook for her family and friends. Baking and sharing dozens of Christmas cookies brought her true joy. She hoped her handwritten book of recipes titled “Kitchen Memories” would inspire future generations to feel her delight in cooking. Lois also believed that a gifted pot of soup was a good start in healing anyone in need.

Her highest priority was her family. Relishing the opportunity to nurture her three children in the house in which she herself was raised, Lois created a caring, loving and supportive home. She was a fun mom whose zeal for living energized each day. Her easy laugh and encouraging words enriched her children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

Those who were fortunate to know Lois will forever miss her warmth, generosity, sense of humor and way with words.

A viewing will take place Thursday, Dec. 20, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Douglas A. Fiery Funeral Home, 1331 Eastern Blvd. North, Hagerstown. Funeral services will be Saturday, Dec. 22, at 10 a.m. at Christ’s Reformed Church, 130 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown, with the Rev. Dr. Gregg R. Meserole officiating. Internment at Rest Haven Cemetery will follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Christ’s Reformed Church.

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