Patricia Killian Smith
October 25, 1933 – October 25, 2020
Patricia Killian Smith, born October 25, 1933, passed away peacefully on her 87th birthday, October 25, 2020, after an incredible 67 years of marriage to Walter Kennedy Smith and successfully raising eight children whom she loved with all of her heart. Patricia, called “Patsy” by her father, and “Patty” and “Trish” by her family, was born in Denver as the fourth of five children of automobile parts dealer Tom Killian and Agnes (Harrison). Patty grew up with three older siblings, Ann Killian (Andrew), Mary “MeMe” Killian, and Tommy Killian, as well as younger brother Kieran Killian. Patty was closest to her brother Tommy, who became a pecan farmer in Texas, and often relayed childhood stories of “covering” for him in an attempt to keep him out of trouble, while also attempting to keep herself out of trouble and “sneaking” cigarettes beginning at the age of 13. As a child, and continuing into her teen years, Patty became a champion horse rider, winning frequent competitions at the National Western Stock show, Kansas City Royal Show, and other competitions with her favorite horses “Sunny Hill Cloud” and “Skokie.” After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy in 1951, and attending Loretto Heights College in Denver for one semester, Patty took the first plane ride of her life to transfer to Marquette University in Wisconsin, where she studied liberal arts. Thought by her would-be husband to be the most beautiful woman at Marquette and, in fact, voted to be the most beautiful woman in her dorm, Patty accepted a date with Walter Smith as a sophomore, even though Walter was a senior and would soon be heading to the Korean War. In her diary, she recorded her first two dates with Walter--which involved sipping sodas--as “nice” and a “real nice time.” Walter and Patty fell quickly for one another, and were married in Denver, Colorado on October 3, 1953. Patty indicated many times during her life that the thing she wanted most in life was to be a mother. Patty got what she wanted, and will be remembered for her absolute selflessness, even when tasked with caring for a traveling salesman husband and eight children, seven of whom are separated by just 9 years of age. When asked late in her life if she would do it all over again, she enthusiastically said “yes,” and noted that she most enjoyed being a mother when her children most needed her, between the ages of 10 and 20. Patty was selfless, gracious, calm, loving, supportive and caring. The Smith children competed for Patty’s attention, and often ribbed one another as to which child was Patty’s favorite. Patty adamantly insisted that she loved all of her children equally. She once said that her children were like flowers in her garden—each of whom could qualify as her “favorite” at any particular moment. “One day I will go out to the garden and see a beautiful flower and think that the flower is the most beautiful and my favorite. But, the next day, I will see another flower and think that it is the most beautiful. The fact is that all the flowers are beautiful and my favorite.” Patty loved to spend time with her children and grandchildren, play tennis, garden, scrapbook, and read and write poetry. She penned beautiful detailed letters to her children once they moved away from home and, for each of her eight children, created multi-volume scrapbooks chronicling their lives for their thirtieth birthdays. Patty also worked as a florist for several years after the last of her children went away to college—a job she loved given her ability to arrange beautiful flowers. Patty is survived by her husband Walter (90); children Ann (Jerry) Jessop (65), Steve (Michelle) (64), Walter “Ken” (Joni) (63), Joan (Celeste) (62), Matthew (Liz) (60), Stephanie Murphy (58), Heidi (Tim) Hickisch (56), and Benjamin (Shelley) (48); as well as fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Patty is also survived by her brother Tommy (Joraine). In lieu of flowers, the Smith family asks that donations be made to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, www.barbaradaviscenter.org.
Patricia Killian Smith
November 12, 2020
Growing up, our large families lived a thousand miles apart, and frequent contact was not practical. So I was fortunate these past 20 or so years that my business travels took me to Denver every year or two and I got to spend time with my Aunt Patty and Uncle "Mike" (my Mom's brother). It was like I was never gone. Aunt Patty would shine that warm, welcoming smile, and we would sit down and chat over family matters, catching up and learning about each other, and in a flash an hour or two would go by. It was very easy to see why my aunt was beloved: she was gracious, approachable, and giving, and when it came to family, she proceeded from a love that permeated her being. I'll miss my beautiful aunt, and Ellen and I send our family's sympathy and deepest condolences to my uncle and cousins, along with our sure and certain hope that we'll all meet Aunt Patty again real soon.
October 30, 2020
I was blessed to help in the care of Patty for the past 10 months. She was a caregivers dream client. She was a beautiful, gracious and loving lady. I will miss her smile, her warmth, and the light she brought to each and every day. Rest peacefully in God's arms. May God bless you and keep your family through this difficult time 🙏.