Mary Katherine Lynn Smith, retired businesswoman, farm operator and community volunteer, passed peacefully on October 16, 2022 at the Residencies of Pleasanton, Kansas. During the nearly seventy years that she resided in Pleasanton, she lived a life of service to others being a volunteer in numerous community activities. She was generous with her time and resources. Her sparkling smiling Irish eyes will be missed.
She was born on April 11, 1927 in her maternal grandmother’s home in Centralia, Kansas, the daughter of Edward B. Lynn and Hazel M. Anthony Lynn. Mary Kay, as she was known to family and friends, graduated from Centralia High School in May 1945. Leaving her family’s farmstead for the city, she obtained employment in the summer of 1945 as a paralegal to Roy K. Dietrich, a prominent attorney in Kansas City, Missouri. She also attended classes at night at the Kansas City Junior College in 1946-47 in the Westport District. On June 7, 1948, she and Daniel H. Smith, a WWII veteran and high school classmate, were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church in Westport.
After her marriage she worked in Strong Hall at the University of Kansas under Fred Ellsworth, executive secretary of the K. U. Alumni Association. Following her husband’s graduation from KU Pharmacy School in 1950, they lived in Kansas City and Ottawa, Kansas. On April 1, 1953, she and her husband opened Dan Smith Rexall Drug Store, formerly Lhuiller Drug, in Pleasanton. In 1955 Mary Kay visited the University of Kansas Medical School where she recruited William Justus, MD to open his medical practice in Pleasanton.
She worked in the family’s pharmacy until its sale in 1992. During this time she was an active member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Pleasanton. An avid musician, she sang with several choral groups in Pleasanton and Arizona churches.
In 1969, her husband and she purchased the family farm near Pleasanton where she resided until recently. In 1976, she became a licensed nursing home administrator and for the following decade was the administrator of the family’s facility, Pleasant View Manor, now known as the Residencies.
As the child of a teacher, she felt the most pleasure from teaching others to read. She volunteered for several years as a paraprofessional with the Head Start program in Pleasanton where she helped new generations of youngsters learn. She gladly sat on the floor with the kids, one on one.
She is survived by her three children, Daniel of Overland Park, Stanley of Wichita and Dianna of the home and by her six grandchildren Tricia, Lauran, Christina, Alexa, Lindsey and Sam and two great grandsons Maxwell and Trenton.