You are viewing the print version of this article. Click here to view the full version.
Columbia Missourian

Adelaide D. Smith, 97, remembered for stories from long career

By Stephanie Graflage
April 9, 2013 | 6:24 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Adelaide D. Smith died Sunday, March 31, 2013. She was 97.

Mrs. Smith was born Oct. 15, 1915 to Ruth Elizabeth and Samuel Welby DeButts in Herndon, Va. She married Stephen Smith. They were married 64 years.

Mrs. Smith was the oldest of six children.

Her family moved to Washington D.C. when she was in third grade. There she met classmate Stephen Smith. They became boyfriend and girlfriend. The two remained a couple through high school and married in 1934.

Mrs. Smith was employed as a secretary in downtown Washington D.C., working on the highly secret Manhattan Project. Mrs. Smith told the  stories of the brilliant and often eccentric men who were her bosses for most of her life.

Her husband was a member of the U.S. Army. The couple had two children, Dale Smith Oberer and Ralph W. Smith, before Stephen was sent to Italy during World War II.

Mrs. Smith worked occasionally at the Bell Telephone Company after the war. She was also a homemaker for most of her life.

The family moved to Severna Park, Md., in the late 1950s, where she was known as an extraordinary mother, grandmother, neighbor and aunt. Mrs. Smith and her husband lived in Severna Park for more than 40 years.

In 1997, Mrs. Smith and her husband moved to Columbia to be closer to their retired daughter and her children.

Mrs. Smith was moved to The Bluffs in 2007 when her Alzheimer’s became advanced.

She is survived by her daughter Dale Oberer, of Columbia, and son Ralph Smith and his wife, Tammy of State College PA; grandchildren Karen Cade (Herb), and Gregg Ketchie, both of Columbia, Stephen Ketchie, of Harrisburg, Chris Ketchie (Tomoko Kawamoto), of Long Island City, N.Y., and Kristen Stephen (Mark) of Catonsville, Md., Mindy Gruver (Mike) of Perkasie Pa., and Kevin, Rayne, Bryan Smith, all of State College, Pa.; 12 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Her husband, Stephen Smith, died earlier of a brain tumor in 1998.

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

Condolences can be posted at