Claudia Mae Smith
August 15, 1924 – October 15, 2019
Claudia was born in a small town in Nebraska on August 15, 1924. She and her two younger brothers had a normal childhood until the divorce of their parents, resulting in the family being on welfare for a period of time. This scarred all three children who developed drinking problems later in life which each were able to overcome.
Her first job was teaching at a small one room school house using her beloved horse for transportation. During World War II, Claudia first worked with a cousin at an ammunition plant loading boxcars. She progressed from there to the Officers’ Club where she met and married Capt. J.C. Smith, an Air Force pilot. After a few days honeymoon, he left Claudia for the Pacific where he was captain of a B-29 flight crew. The next time they were together, she had her first child, Diane. After the war, they moved often. J.C. was shipped out and she was forced to follow behind with Diane, and now Cathy and Jim, all under the age of 5. Those were the days without seatbelts.
In 1958, they were transferred to Taipei, Taiwan, where J.C. was Assistant Air Attaché connected to the Embassy. Despite the constant Embassy entertainment requirements, Claudia taught English at the Taiwanese Police Academy which brought her great joy and many wonderful stories. She took Chinese language classes the entire 3 years, endearing her to the high ranking Taiwanese officials. Claudia and J.C. were very well liked. It was quite an experience for 2 people in their 30’s from small town America.
During this time in Taiwan, Claudia began a lifelong relationship with Shao Yen (Susan) who has remained lovingly devoted to “Ma”, Diane and Jim.
The return to the US sent them to St. Louis where Claudia became a dental assistant for over 20 years. A long awaited event occurred in 1976, birth of her first grandchild, Carrie, with Jason following 7 years later. However, with great joy came great pain caused by the loss of Cathy, their middle child, in 1978 caused by a motorcycle accident in California.
J.C. passed away in 1990 after many years battling heart disease. In the years that followed, Claudia reconnected with her high school boyfriend, Leon, and they had 16 years together, many spent traveling in their RV. It was 1998 when she left her 30 year home in St. Louis to move to Southlake where Claudia lived until her death at age 95.
As all of you know, Claudia was sweet, kind, always interested in others and had a sense of humor. She was fiercely devoted to her children and always worried about their wellbeing. Diane never left her without being told to “be careful”. Claudia took great care and pride in her appearance. She loved being pampered by Meghan, her loving caregiver. She was rarely on time. Jim fondly remembers all the time the family spent waiting on her in the car, J.C. laying on the horn, while Claudia completed the finishing touches to her hair and makeup. Claudia had a good long life sprinkled with hardships which she accepted stoically. She was an inspiration to all who met her.
Claudia’s 95 birthday in August was full of family and friends and lasted a couple weeks. Her birthday cards are proudly displayed in her dining room. Her last weekend, Claudia spent with granddaughter Carrie, husband Tommy, great grandsons Cash and Brady, and Diane and Larry, going to the State Fair, eating out, playing cards and just listening to her family’s chatter. Meghan said she smiled and laughed all Monday recalling the weekend. Meghan said “she was so happy”.
- MD Anderson Center
- Celebration of Life Monday, October 21, 2019
- Graveside Service Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Claudia Mae Smith
October 27, 2019
I loved Claudia as if she was my own grandmother. I was her caregiver but to me I felt like she was more..she became family to me. I’ve always enjoyed talking with her and sharing pictures of my travels with her. She would always ask me about how softball is going and where my next travels were and how my league games are. She always remembered my birthday. And she was always spoiling me for the holidays with a card in the mail. Always brighten my day. I always looked forward to Diane bringing us Zeppelins for lunch because those were the times Claudia and I would eat, talk and enjoy each other’s company. She was there for me a lot. Always encouraging me to never give up. Tough times makes you stronger. She made sure to check on me with my car accident. And when I got my first car she said Cardinal red like your favorite baseball team. To me that meant a lot because goes to show she pays attention to the little things. I could go on and on about her. She was someone I always looked forward to seeing and always knew how to make my day so much better! She was so kind and so loving. Always hugs and kisses!! She truly was a remarkable person. I’m so lucky to have met her and Diane! I love you Claudia! And I miss you! I know I will always have a guardian angel looking out for me.
October 21, 2019
Claudia was always so devoted to family, and her family was very devoted to her. Her daughter,Diane, who lived near Claudia, was always by Claudia's side, in all ways. And both Claudia and Diane stayed in touch with family through annual Christmas cards, letters and visits, when possible. We will always remember Claudia for her love of family and her dedication to staying in touch. Thank you, Claudia. And thank you, Diane.