Grace's Story

Text size

Grace Lee Spivey Smith, who died July 19, 2016, was born January 4, 1919, to Victor Turner Spivey and Ada Susan Spivey on a cattle ranch near Winslow, Arkansas. Later the family moved to a farm east of Springdale, AR. In that community, Fishback District # 68, the children attended the two-room rural school through the eighth grade and then transferred to Springdale High School. After graduation in 1936, Grace continued her education at John Brown University, receiving a BS degree in Home Economics in 1939.
She accepted a position in Decatur, AR, teaching home economics and performing other duties, including coaching the girls' basketball team. Later she moved to Melbourne, AR where she was employed with the Farm Security Program. Pearl Harbor was attacked during this time and because of rationing limitations she found employment much closer to her family, as a caseworker with the OK Department of Public Welfare in Stillwell, Adair County, OK.
She joined the U.S. Navy Waves and reported in March 1945 to the Hunter College Training Station, Bronx, New York City. After completing training she was assigned to the training station to train new recruits. She later moved to the discharge center at 76th and Broadway, Manhattan Towers, to work in the demobilization program. She, too, was discharged from that center in the fall of 1946. She bought a new hat before returning to civilian life with her family in Siloam Springs, AR. She accepted a faculty position in the Home Economics Department of John Brown University before returning to work with the Department of Public Welfare in Stillwell, OK. During 1949/1950 she attended Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State University) on a teaching scholarship and in 1951 received her Master's degree. Following graduation she joined the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service where she served in several positions. She was active in many professional organizations, societies and honor groups as well as church organizations. She was granted a sabbatical to attend Cornell University in 1960 and her Doctor of Education degree was conferred in 1963. She then returned to her position at Oklahoma State University and in 1978 retired from her position as Assistant to the Dean of Home Economics for Cooperative Extension Programs. After retirement, she enjoyed tours to Scandinavia and China with family members and OSU tours to London and France.
She was united in marriage with Haskell Smith, MD, in 1982 in San Antonio, TX. They continued to reside in Stillwater, OK. Several years after Dr. Smith's death she moved to the retirement community of Golden Oaks in Stillwater. In January, 2006, she moved to the Summit at Westlake Hills in Austin, TX, (now Brookdale, Westlake Hills) where she resided until her death.
She was predeceased by her parents; her brother Victor Turner Spivey, Jr. who died during World War II near Paris, France in 1945; her sister, Kathryn Jackson and husband, Robert W. Jackson, Austin, TX (residents at the Summit, Westlake Hills); her nephew, James Witt of Austin; her niece, Pamela Witt Everett, Dallas, TX; her husband, Dr. Haskell Smith, and his son, Darrell Smith.
She is survived by two sisters and their families: Margaret Duff and her husband, Barrett, of Pasadena, CA and their children: Patricia Duff, So. Pasadena, CA, Barrett Duff II and wife, Suzy, Glendale, CA, Rica Duff, Pasadena, CA, and Larry Duff and wife, Ali, of Lowell AR; and Arlene Carter of Austin, TX and her children: Patricia Boyd, Waco, TX and Janice Witt, Austin, TX. She is also survived by the children of her deceased sister: Robert W. Jackson and wife, Wanda, of Georgetown, TX, and Janelle Decker and her husband, James, of Eagar, AZ
She also leaves cousins and other relatives in California, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri. She enjoyed her neighbors and many special friends and remained close to her family all of her life.
Memorial gifts may be made to Oklahoma State University Foundation (400 South Monroe, Stillwater, OK 74074) for the Grace L. Spivey Scholarship Endowment for Home Economics Cooperative Education or the Presbyterian Church, 610 South Duncan, Stillwater, OK.
Published on August 5, 2016
Send flowers
in memory of Grace
See more

Obituary published in

Arrangements by


Share this story with a friend: