“Susie” McKenzie Smith

Susie Smith passed away June 1, 2019 at Mercy West in West Des Moines. She was almost 93 years old.

Susie was born September 15, 1926 at a farm house in Jamaica, Iowa. She was the youngest of 6 children. Her parents named her Mabel McKenzie after her mother, Mabel. Her dad, William McKenzie soon called her “Susie” the name she preferred for the rest of her life.

The family moved to Perry, Iowa, where she grew up. She did well in her school work and had lots of friends, especially the Taylor sisters. She loved animals and was frequently bringing home a stray pet – which her mother sometimes let her keep.

Times were hard. Her father moved away to Eastern states and her mother had 6 children to raise. Susie would walk to Greene’s Grocery and get free bone and scraps for her pets, dog and cat. She and her brother, Lloyd would fish in the river and bring home meat for the family. Susie learned to be a top notch roller skater and ice skater too.

As a teenager she left school and got a job at the Ordnance Plant (later to become John Deere) to help in the war effort. She was employed in food service. That is where she met her husband to be: Joe Smith Jr., a machinist and welder. She married and became Susie Smith. They had one child, Jerry. Their marriage lasted 50 years until her husband died. Susie never dated or remarried.

Her primary occupation was a housewife. Susie also worked a few years for the Des Moines schools and was a head cook at May Goodrell Jr. High cafeteria. After her husband passed, she often traveled with her son and assisted with food sales at trade shows in the Midwest.

Susie got to meet and be photographed with Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the famed “Enola Gay” which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and effectively ended World War II in the Pacific.

Church was also important to Susie. She attended Capitol Heights Methodist Church for many years and sister church Sheridan Park Methodist Church. Susie also attended Easton Place Methodist Church for years with Jerry and Linda until ill health limited her attendance.

For many years Susie especially enjoyed music and dancing at the VFW Baldwin Patterson American Legion, where she met many friends, dancers and musicians.

Susie did volunteer work at Riverside Bidwell in Des Moines. Susie was also a volunteer teacher’s helper at Delaware Elementary School in the Southeast Polk School System.

Susie enjoyed gardening, canning, fishing, swimming, boating, family dinners, picnics, conversing, helping others, music, pets, reading, sports, television, did her own lawn mowing and tree work for many years, enjoyed driving, riding, looking at pretty scenery, trips and looking at Christmas lights.

She was a wonderful wife, mother, friend and person. She was loving, charitable, interested in others, and had a great sense of humor. She will be greatly missed. She was one of those people who made a difference. She was happier if something good happened to someone she knew instead of herself.

Preceding her in death was her mother, her father, her husband, 2 brothers and 3 sisters.

Her survivors include her son Jerry (Linda), 2 grandchildren Anita and Chris, 2 great grandchildren, and 1 pet.

A Special thanks to all the workers and specialists at Glen Oaks Alzheimer's Care Center and at the Cancer Center.

Susie will be happiest if you did something nice for someone or if you helped one of your favorite charities.

Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at Hamilton’s Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street, Des Moines. Funeral Services will begin at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 26, 2019 also at the funeral home followed by burial at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Des Moines.

Service Details

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
5:00 to 7:00 pm
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
1:00 pm
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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