Demaine Funeral Home

5308 Backlick Road, Springfield, VA


Margherita Steinhoff Smith

May 24, 1922February 12, 2020

She had many dimensions. She said that she was a “PK” -- preacher’s kid -- growing up as the daughter of a Lutheran minister. She was always religious. She liked telling Bible stories. She admired her mother, and she adored her father. She was proud of her sister and two brothers. In college, she majored in psychology; she always considered a psychological understanding of matters. She also began a lifelong interest in acting and in oral poetry recital. She met Rufus Smith in college. She liked to tell the story of how they were married in a taxi. She was dedicated to her husband. She thrived in the roles which came with his career: first an army spouse, then a Foreign Service spouse. She found fulfillment in the lifestyle -- moving and living in new and different places, in accord with assignments. She was proud to be a loyal American, giving service to her government. She also liked to be a world citizen, with respect for, and with understanding of, other cultures. She especially valued the direct contacts with individual people, of Amsterdam, of Panama, of Ottawa, of Chiang Mai. And she continued, with dedication, after acquiring polio at the age of 29. (Tragically, this was just a few months before vaccines became available.) She was a dedicated mother, eager to support and involve herself in the activities of her sons. Later in life she developed a fascination with flower arranging as an art. Then she began her own career as a professional proofreader, which she pursued enthusiastically, soon developing expertise. Indeed, she wrote textbooks and gave seminars, achieving renown. Then she began writing poetry, short stories, and novels. She was partly inspired by children’s books and fantasy tales, especially those involving friendly dragons. Her novels included ”Overturned Hearts” and “Search for Elizabeth.” She was deeply affected by the loss of her husband, but she ultimately managed it with grace. She was an appreciator of music, especially composed by Bach. She loved her long term friendships. She was always eager to hear about her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and her extended family of siblings, nieces and nephews, as well as their families. Ultimately, her post-polio syndrome progressed to a loss of all movement. She remained a caring and supportive mother. She conveyed to her sons a love of America, of world diversity, of music, of writing and literature, of fantasy, and of family. She will be missed.


29 February

Memorial Service

6:00 pm

Demaine Funeral Home

5308 Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22151

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