Alice Mary Thompson Smith
Alice Mary Thompson Smith, 95, of Cedar Rapids passed away peacefully of old age at 10:40 p.m. on May 22 at her home after a life well spent.
Visitation: Thursday, May 30, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Cedar Memorial. There will be a graveside service afterward for the family at the Cedar Memorial Cemetery. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Alice and Malcolm Thompson; her brother, Malcolm Thompson; her sister, Elizabeth Barry; and her husband, W. Howard Smith. She is survived by two nephews, Donald (Roxy) Barry of Northfield, Minn., and Steven (Nancy) Barry of Cedar Rapids; two nieces, Cynthia (Janak) Adhikari-Thompson of Cedar Rapids and Nancy Thompson of New York City, as well as by Howard's children, to whom she grew very close. They are Leslie (Kevin) Sand of Decorah, Iowa, and Warren Smith of Austin, Texas. On the Barry side there are three grandchildren, Ivan (Rebekah) Barry of Carpinteria, Calif., Heather Barry of Washington, D.C., Keziban (Devin) Barry of New York City; and two great-grandchildren, Kiyan and Aydin Barry. On the Smith side there are four grandchildren, Rob (Christine) Sand of Des Moines, Jen (Carlos) Canales of Des Moines, Madeline Smith of Japan and Ivy Smith of Austin, Texas; and four great-grandchildren, Tait and Axel Sand and Soren and Diego Canales.
Allie was born May 17, 1924, in St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids. She graduated from Franklin High School in 1942 and from Carleton College in 1946 with a Phi Beta Kappa in history. She especially loved English medieval history, though her husband Howard preferred Iowa history, particularly that of Cedar Rapids. Allie worked in New York City from 1947-48 at the Rockefeller Foundation, then returned to Cedar Rapids to help her father's M.M. Thompson Insurance business. At times she was the secretary of the White Cross Society, an important organization in its day that helped pay hospital bills for women. She returned to New York City in 1950 and spent three years there working for the Ladies Home Journal. She had a grand time going to plays and musicals. She loved opera. Her nephews and nieces always loved it when she came for a visit, for she always brought something interesting from New York City. She returned home to Cedar Rapids but was back in New York City when her father had a serious stroke in May of 1958. She came to live at home to help her mother take care of her father and worked at Jean Ashby's travel agency. When her mother's health declined in the early 1970s, Allie conscientiously and lovingly cared for her mother.
Allie began dating Howard Smith, a good friend of her brother Mac's, in 1968. Howard was a lawyer she'd known for years. They were married on Aug. 27, 1970. They both loved history; they took many a Bar Association trip, going to England, Costa Rica and the Canary Islands. They loved boating on the Mississippi at McGregor, canoeing, swimming and picnicking. They often spent time at a cabin on Deer Lake in Wisconsin, the place where her father had grown up. Allie made sure she got to know Howard's children well, and they all became very close, often taking trips to Deer Lake all together. She and Howard often traveled to the West Cost to visit his relatives. They also had a tradition of hosting Rose Bowl parties. After Howard's death, she continued to visit his relatives out west, and even in her
80s she often traveled to New York City to visit her niece, Nancy.
Starting in high school, Allie learned to knit and loved it so much it became a lifelong passion. All of her extended family have delightfully large Christmas stockings with their names
on them. She made beautiful sweaters. Even in her early 90s she was attending
knitting conferences. She never could pass by a yarn shop without spending hours inside. Allie even persuaded Leslie to learn to knit, to their mutual delight. Allie was an inveterate reader until the last month or so of her life. She read fiction and history, she was a member of several book groups, she helped with Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library for more than 40 years assisting with many book sales, and she helped sort books for Better World Books, a program that supports literacy and education throughout the world. She always was eager to learn new things, such as how to use the computer to do the work of sorting books. She loved the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Her grandfather, Fred Faulkes, and his brother-in-law, Clarence Miller, bought the fledgling Gazette in 1884 and turned it into a substantial and important newpaper. For a long time her uncle, James Faulkes, was the publisher and her brother, Mac, was the front-page editor. Allie read the Gazette every single day and stayed in close touch with many of the goings-on in Cedar Rapids. She was very loyal to the Gazette, to Cedar Rapids, and to Iowa.
Allie and her sister, Liz Barry, were close their entire lives. Both were widowed in their 70s, but they spent a great amount of time together, often taking trips up to Deer Lake where Liz fished and Allie knitted and read. They called each other every day. Liz was Allie's big sister and they had a big sister-little sister relationship all their lives. Allie was more interested in dolls, Patsy and Nancy dolls in particular, and clothes as a child. In the 1930s one could take an early morning train to Chicago, shop at Marshall Field's and return on the evening train Allie fondly remembers those trips with her mother and, perhaps because of those trips, she was a very fashionable woman who loved to shop. Allie had dogs and cats all her life and was very interested in animal welfare. She also had a keen sense of justice and paid close attention to many human rights issues. She supported many causes and was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Allie was a very thoughtful, loving person with a sweet smile, uttering the occasional "egad" when she was surprised by something. She was very loyal to her family and fiercely independent, with a wonderful and gentle sense of humor. She maintained a positive attitude as she aged, though not always pleased with the limitations of growing older. She's the last of a generation, and we shall miss her.
A special thank-you to Right at Home and UnityPoint Hospice for their care in Allie's last days.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be made to a charity of one's choice.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.cedarmemorial.com.