Portia Allyn Smith
Portia Allyn Smith, age 98, of Champaign died February 23, 2015 at home.
Mrs. Smith was born December 26, 1916 in Urbana, Illinois, the daughter of Orr Milton and Frances Gilkerson Allyn. She married George Edward Smith on August 28, 1937, in Michigan City, Indiana. He preceded her in death on December 1, 1986. She was also preceded in death by her sister (Eunice Allyn Shurcliff) and two brothers (Milton and Hiram Allyn).
She is survived by four children: George Edward Smith, Jr. (Melody) of DeKalb, Illinois; Amelia “Amy” Smith Felty (Michael) of Champaign; John Allyn Smith (Jeanne Odermann) of Clarksville, Tennessee; and Paul Jordan Smith of San Antonio, Texas. She has four grandchildren: Stephanie Smith Elliott (T.S.) of Lake Forest, Illinois; Bill Baker (Bahiyyih) of Chengdu, China; Zivar Baker Guyot of Champaign; and David Baker (Heidi) of Urbana. She has ten great-grandchildren: Peter and William Elliott of Lake Forest; Georgia, Maya, and Teresa Baker of Chengdu; Nadine, Mariah, and Amy Guyot of Champaign; and Devyn and Matthew Baker of Urbana.
Mrs. Smith lived in Fergus, MT as well as in DeKalb, Clinton, and Urbana, Illinois, as a young person, graduating from Urbana High School in 1933. She completed Illinois Commercial College in 1934 and then attended the U. of I. for three years before marrying. Her husband’s work as a corn breeder took them to Bloomington-Normal, IL; Iowa; Missouri; and back to rural Champaign.
Mrs. Smith worked at the Illinois State Geological Survey in Urbana in technical files in the 1940s, and then as a research assistant in mineral economics from 1964 until retirement in 1975.
She enjoyed gardening, won awards for flower arranging at the McLean County Fair, was an excellent cook, raised sheep, was an active and dedicated traveler, and was a life-long learner. Her vast knowledge of geography, geology, and the history of this country made her a most interesting conversation and travel partner. Mrs. Smith was a member of the Bahá'í Faith.
Burial will be private at Craw Cemetery in Sadorus, IL. A memorial service for Mrs. Smith will be held at a later date at the Bahá'í Center in Urbana.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the University of Illinois Foundation to the Portia Allyn Smith Memorial Fund for the College of Agriculture at 1305 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801.
Condolences may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.