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Columbia Missourian

Adelaide D. Smith, Oct. 15, 1915 — March 31, 2013

By Memorial Funeral Home
April 9, 2013 | 12:39 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Adelaide D. Smith, 97, died on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, at The Bluffs after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Addie, the daughter of Ruth Elizabeth and Samuel Welby DeButts, was born on October 15, 1915, in Herndon, Virginia. She was the oldest of six children. All of her siblings are deceased.

When Addie was in the third grade, her family moved to Washington, D.C.

She immediately met classmate Stephen Smith and they became girlfriend and boyfriend. Their romance lasted through high school. They married in 1934 and lived a beautiful marriage for 64 years. Stephen died of a brain tumor in 1998.

Stephen and Addie had two children, Dale Smith Oberer and Ralph W. Smith, before Stephen was sent to Italy with the U.S. Army during World War II.

Addie was employed as a secretary in downtown Washington, D.C. She worked on a highly secret program called The Manhattan Project. When the first Atomic Bomb was dropped, Addie and many of her colleagues discovered that the papers and letters they were typing had changed the world. For most of the rest of her life, she loved telling stories of the brilliant and sometimes eccentric men who were her bosses.

After the war, Addie worked occasionally at the Bell Telephone Company, but most of the rest of her life, she was a homemaker. In the late 1950s, the family moved to Severna Park, MD, where she was an extraordinary mother, grandmother, neighbor and aunt. Stephen and Addie lived in Severna Park in Fairwinds on the Severn for more than 40 years.

Stephen and Addie moved to Columbia in 1997 to be closer to their retired daughter and her children. When her Alzheimer's became advanced six years ago, she moved to The Bluffs where she received loving and compassionate care.

Addie is survived by her daughter, Dale Oberer, Columbia, and son, Ralph W. Smith and his wife, Tammy, of State College, PA. Grandchildren are Stephen Ketchie, Harrisburg, MO, Karen Cade (Herb), Columbia, Gregg Ketchie, Columbia, and Chris Ketchie (Tomoko Kawamoto), Long Island City, NY. Other grandchildren are Kristen Stephen (Mark), Catonsville, MD, Mindy Gruver (Mike), Perkasie, PA, Kevin, Rayne and Bryan Smith, all of State College, PA.

Addie left 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

She also leaves many devoted nieces and nephews.

Private services will be held this summer in the Outer Banks, N.C.

Online tributes may be left at