Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dawn Smith's Life Celebrated

Last night’s celebration of Dawn Smith’s life drew almost 300 community members, her family and friends from out-of-town. Hugs and loving greetings abounded throughout the large multi-purpose room at Garden Valley School, before and after the lovely service, presented by her family.

Dawn’s mother, Diane Bryan, said when her daughter was born on September 16, 1965, she never expected to be standing here saying these things. She spoke humorously about Dawn being a middle child and asking if she could be called the “Middle Chicken”, determining to earn the title of the loudest and best of the roost. The audience was treated to an exhibition of Dawn’s unbelievably long gum-wrapper chain, which mom said probably cost her $10,000 for the orthodontist.

City of Crouch Mayor, Bob Powell, spoke of Dawn’s generosity as a friend and neighbor, saying, “She worked for all of you.” What he mentioned next, many friends and acquaintances recognized as the greeting Dawn had made uniquely hers: “HEY, you,” said with a warmth and connection that made the recipient feel especially singled out.

A minute of sympathetic silence passed as Greg Simione paused in his grief and then continued to remark upon Dawn’s representation of an ideal: “Her primary job, always, was her kids; second, real estate; third, Crouch Council; and fourth, the school board. I never knew when she was tired, with the exception of when she said it.”

The co-owner
of the Merc and recently “retired” Garden Valley Chamber president continued, “I hope I can live up to her ideal. There she was, supporting a community effort (the night she died). It demonstrates value—I’ll miss the value she created. We’re so happy she made Garden Valley her home.”

Pastor Ernest Updike spoke of this difficult time of reckoning with the loss of Dawn. “It is a precious time, the eight years she was here, she made a huge impact and our job is to carry it on.”

Dawn was busy raising three children, Zachary, 17, Tanner, 13, and Hayden, 11, when she went away. The highlight of the memorial celebration was the slide show made by Dawn’s daughter, Hayden, which expressed everything that couldn’t be said about the 45 years of her mother’s dear, free-hearted, immeasurable life.

Pastor Updike closed the celebration service by announcing the potluck which followed and said, “This is like Dawn. She really liked getting a lot of people together to enjoy food—I’m really glad she wants to do that with us tonight.”

Diane Caughlin summed up the service: “It was the most uplifting memorial I’ve ever been to. It really was a celebration!” A lady speaking to Pastor Updike said smiling, “Dawn had so much energy circulating through this valley, it’s still moving around here. I can feel her.”

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