Helen S. Smith

February 1, 1923 - August 31, 2016

Helen Scranton Smith, 93, a Ft. Myers, FL resident since 1976, formerly of Lake Forest, Illinois and Bernardsville, NJ passed away Wednesday, August 31, 2016. She was born February 1, 1923 in Washington, IA to Clinton and Alice Scranton.

Helen, from a very young age had a vibrant and curious mind. She loved to read, and later in life loved the mental challenges of crossword puzzles and soduku. Growing up in Chicago she was top in her class. With the early death of both her parents and the need to take care of her younger brother, Marty, she never was able to take advantage of a full scholarship to a university.

She married her childhood sweetheart, Donald Johnson, in 1941. He was a pilot in the US Air Corp and died in the Philippines during WW 2. In 1947 she met her future husband, Abner, who had also been in the US Air Corp during the war, when they were both working for United Airlines. They married in 1948, started a family and raised 4 children. They were blessed with a loving marriage that lasted 68 years.

Her curiosity about the world, combined with Abner’s wanderlust, took them exploring far and wide from the US and Canada to Europe, Russia, South America, Australia, New Zealand, China and other parts of Asia. After a few years of early retirement, they grew restless and in 1980 volunteered with the International Executive Service Corps, an international non-profit organization helping businesses of all sizes modernize and increase their productivity. They spent 12 years on assignments in Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Yemen and Jordan. Helen enjoyed teaching English to high school students in Jakarta and helping acclimatize visiting business consultants to the various traditions of the different countries to which they were posted.

Some favorite destinations were to Indiana and Colorado to spend time with her children, 5 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. She is remembered by a friend as having “an incredible spirit and wisdom seasoned with humor that was her trademark”.

She is survived by her children, Bradley Kirk Smith (Robin) of Glenwood Springs, CO, Todd S. Smith (Karen) of Ft. Wayne, IN and Wendyl Smith of Bali, Indonesia; five grandchildren, Jennifer, Will, Courtney (Chad), Kyle (Christina) and Chad (Dorie), four great grandchildren, Emily, Andrew, Kylie and Cale; as well as her dear friends, Caryl and Merle Nelson of Lake Forest, IL. Caryl wrote this poem after her dear friends passing:

The sight of a butterfly perched on a fresh new bloom

Is fleeting when the butterfly moves on its way so soon.

But the memory of its beauty made up of colors bright

Will remain with us long after its wings again take flight.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Abner Smith, son, Christopher Smith and brother, Edward Martin Scranton.

Memorial Contributions in memory of Helen Scranton Smith may be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Ft. Myers, FL 33908.

Friends are invited to send condolences via the on-line guest book which can be found at www.MullinsMemorial.com.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ft. Myers, is honored to be entrusted with the final arrangements of Helen Scranton Smith.


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