The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

Dr. Verna Smith, PhD

 

Dr. Verna Smith, PhD, a long-term resident of Overland, Mo., passed away in her sleep at the age of 95 at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, from complications following hip surgery.

She was the daughter of Roy Alva Green and Sara (Lindberg) Green of Glasgow.

Dr. Smith was a powerful force in educational research, both locally and nationally. She was honored for her contributions to American education by Stanford University and the University of Montana, her alma mater. She was a co-founder of the St. Louis chapter of Theta Sigma Phi, a professional fraternity for female journalists, later renamed Women in Communications.

The valedictorian of her high school graduating class in Glasgow, Dr. Smith earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Montana, became a journalist for the Great Falls Tribune and The Glasgow Courier, edited the Community News from her home in Overland while her boys were young, taught English at Ritenour Jr. High School and was the Ritenour School District's first public information officer, a post she created. She earned her master's degree in education at Washington University and her PhD in education at St. Louis University. At Central Midwestern Educational Research Laboratories (CEMREL), she participated in developing curricula and new methods of teaching, and was CEMREL's public information officer. Through her former professor and lifelong friend, Sen. Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, she obtained significant federal funding for educational research and worked with the U.S. Department of Education, the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Congress to promote funding for educational research. During her retirement, she volunteered as a publicist at OASIS. At the age of 90, she was still receiving national, state, regional and local awards for her work in journalism and education.

At various times in her life, Dr. Smith had been the editor of Staff Communications, U.S. Corps of Engineers in Fort Peck; taught classes in school public relations at St. Louis University; was the director of publications at Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL), was the volunteer coordinator for the Oral History Project at OASIS; was the volunteer coordinator for Media Archives at the St. Louis Public Library; sat on committees that awarded journalism scholarships; and, in her youth, a pilot. She was especially proud of having been an Olympic torchbearer in 1996 as the torch traveled through St. Louis on its way to Atlanta.

Dr. Smith was preceded in death y her husband, Alfred; an aerospace engineer at Emerson Electric, and is survived by three sons, Philip Smith of Ponca City, Okla., Alfred Smith of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Stuart Smith of Sequim, Wash. Dr. Smith had been living at her son, Alfred's home in Redondo Beach since January 2014.

 

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