Sunday, May 29, 2016 at about noon, Loretta Miller Smith of Alfred NY, finished her Earthly journey. She died unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism while being transported from Highland Park to Jones Hospital in Wellsville. She had been recovering for two months from a difficult knee replacement. She was progressing well with therapy, and was about a week away from going home to a more comfortable life after years of pain.
Loretta was born November 9, 1926 to Peter and Virginia Miller in Marlboro MA. She grew up in Jamestown NY, and then graduated with honors with a diploma in Nursing in 1948 from University of Rochester. She received her BS from U of R in 1952, and worked several years at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
Loretta married Stuart E. Smith in 1951 and they had children, Steven and Wendy in Rochester. They then moved to Syracuse where Stuart worked toward his Ed.D. Their third child, Lisa Marie was born in 1956 in Syracuse. Lisa predeceased Loretta last July. None of the family has really come to terms with that loss.
In 1957 they moved to Pulaski NY for 6 quite happy years. They moved to Alfred in 1963 where their home remains. Loretta taught practical nursing at St. James in Hornell for a few years while earning a Master's degree at Alfred University. She occasionally enjoyed recounting that her only non-A grade came when she took a course in Statistics from her husband Stuart. She asserted that she deserved an A. (Stuart agrees, but always defended himself by reminding that it was the first course he had taught at Alfred and he did not think it would look good to give his wife an A).
She taught Nursing at Alfred State for 19 years and had many close friends on the faculty. While there she co-authored a nursing text, Clinical Calculations, with her close friend and co-worker Joanne Daniels. Five editions were printed, and the publisher described the book as a classic which has been used by a generation of nursing students. Joanne predeceased Loretta by about 6 weeks.
Loretta was a pillar of the Union University Church in Alfred for over 50 years as an active participant in uncounted projects from Christmas Boxes for families in need to making her famous baklava for the Church Bazaar. She was an important member of Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity, working on many houses in the region. She was an early volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels. She (wo)manned the phones for a Domestic Violence Hotline. She spent time in three different winters in Haiti, under the supervision of Dr. Ken Van Dine of Wellsville, NY, helping improve poor peoples' vision.
Many other activities and projects will be mentioned at a memorial service at Union University Church, in Alfred on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 3 p.m.
At Loretta's retirement party Joanne Daniels said “If you haven't known Loretta you have been very lucky: you have never been sick or lost a loved one, because if you lived in the Alfred area, Loretta was always there with a casserole or a dessert or a shoulder to lean on.” This is well documented, and will be likely be enlarged upon by various speakers at the above mentioned Memorial.
She loved to travel and did so often and had friends all over the country and a few in Europe. She had a sense of humor and entertained with stories, often with exaggerations, often at Stuart's expense. She was recognized as a talented cook with an extensive recipe collection.
All her friends and family are filled with sadness over how close she came to being able to resume her full and giving life. She is survived by her husband Stuart, son Steve, Lisa's son Jeremy, and husband Rick Hilfiger, Wendy in Texas and her husband Bob Kopal and their sons Ryan and Drew. Also, Ryan's wife Meredith and their 10 month old identical twin daughters Ava and Olivia. The stream of pictures and videos of Ava and Olivia were Loretta's main source of smiles since Lisa's passing. We are happy that Loretta and Lisa are now reunited in Heaven forever.
To send a remembrance to the family please visit, www.brownandpowersfuneralhomes.com. The family is being assisted by Gerald R. Brown, Director at the Bender – Brown & Powers Funeral Home of Hornell.
Memorial contributions can be made to Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity,7 McNinch Ln. Belmont, NY 14813.