Eileen Mary Smith

SMITH – Devoted wife, mother, grandmother and dog lover, Eileen Mary Smith passed away peacefully at age 85 on Thursday, October 21, 2021, at her home in Grand Rapids, Michigan from heart failure, ending a decade long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Eileen was born on November 23, 1935, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to George and Catharine Knapp.  The youngest of four, Eileen excelled in school and developed a love for writing and editing, skills she utilized throughout her life – editing the West Catholic Girl’s High School yearbook, working for a publishing company in Philadelphia, and producing many church bulletins over the years.  Eileen met her husband William (Bill) Smith on the beach in New Jersey, and he quickly won her heart.  After marrying on February 8, 1958, they devoted themselves to their family, raising three sons by providing a role model example of Catholic marriage and family life.  Mom was the rock of the family, keeping everything working as the family moved around the country, following Bill’s career.  After leaving Philadelphia in 1970 for a one-year stop in Hartford, Connecticut, the family settled for nine years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, getting their two oldest sons, Kevin and Gregg, through high school and into University of Notre Dame and Duquesne University, respectively.  The family made a final move to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1978, where their youngest son, Eric, went to high school then on to Marquette University.  Eileen was always extremely proud that all her children attended Catholic universities.  A deeply religious person, Eileen engaged in the ministries of each parish with which the family worshiped over the years.  As a very social person, she also managed to meet other families quickly following each move and built solid friendships for the couple and their children.  Eileen was always able to find a good Bridge group, the more competitive the better!  The Smith home was always open to neighbors and their children’s friends for drop-in visits, dinners and parties.  Eileen loved the family’s Pugs and had an uncanny ability of naming the puppies to match their personalities – Pudgy, Shorty, Jibber, Mei Ling and Bailey.  After her children were adults, Eileen went back to work at the Parish of St. Jude in NE Grand Rapids as Parish Administrator, doing the work she loved. The last ten years of Eileen’s life were difficult for her and her family as Alzheimer’s slowly stole her mind and physical capabilities.  Her family is thankful for the loving care she received at Sunrise of Cascade.  Eileen is preceded in death by her husband, Bill, son, Wayne, daughter, Eileen, father, George Knapp, mother, Catharine Knapp, brothers George and Charles Knapp.  She is survived by three sons and wives, Kevin and Elda, Gregg, and Eric and Laura, nine wonderful grandchildren, Jennifer, Erica, Wayne, Deidra, William, James, Alexandria, Maxwell and Emily, sister Catharine McNally, sister-in-law, Getrude Knapp, dearest childhood friend Rita Matthews, and eight loving nieces and nephews. Eileen will be missed by all.  Family and friends are cordially invited to a visitation followed by a Rosary at O’Brien Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 from 6:00-8:30 PM on Monday, November 22, 2021. A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at 11:00 AM with a visitation beginning 10:00 AM on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at St. Robert of Newminster Parish, 6477 Ada Drive SE, Ada, MI 49301.  Ashes will be interred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the family’s cemetery plot at a future date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in the name of Eileen Mary Smith be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association at Tribute to Eileen Mary Smith.

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