Norene Pearl Smith

Longtime Durango resident Norene Pearl Smith died Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, at her home. She was two days shy of her 80th birthday.

Mrs. Smith was born to Isaiah “Zeke” and Gladys Flora on Nov. 16, 1932, in Helena, Ohio. She was only six months old when her family moved to the Falls Creek area north of Durango. She grew up in the Durango area and attended school in Animas City before graduating from Durango High School in 1950.

She continued her education at the old Fort Lewis College Campus near Hesperus, the University of Colorado in Boulder and later at Colorado General Hospital in Denver. While she was studying to become a medical technician, she met her future husband, Richard Smith, in Pagosa Springs in 1954, after his sister introduced them.

The couple married in 1955 at the First United Methodist Church of Durango.

Mrs. Smith worked at Children’s Hospital in Denver and then for a clinic in Pagosa Springs. In 1964, the family moved back to Durango, and she worked for Mercy Hospital for 23 years. She also worked briefly for Hospice of Mercy in La Plata County and for private insurance companies.

Mrs. Smith enjoyed the arts and liked to paint. She liked to read and published a retrospective about her family, including her father, who was a well-known amateur archaeologist. She liked to work on puzzles, play card games and was extensively involved with the First United Methodist Church for many years.

“Norene also liked to camp and hunt with her family in the splendor of southwestern Colorado,” her family said. “She was an all-around do-gooder.”

Mrs. Smith was preceded in death by her son Terry Smith in 1976.

She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Richard L. Smith, of Durango; sons Carl Smith and Walter Smith, both of Durango, Ted Smith of Redmond, Wash., and Oscar Smith of Bullhead City, Nev.; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and extended family members.

Cremation will occur. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at the First United Methodist Church, 2917 Aspen Drive. in Durango. A reception will take place after the service.