Marlene H. Smith (Gates), 91, Wauwatosa, went to be with God and family members on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
She was born Nov. 22, 1927, to the late William and Myrtle Gates (St. Clair) . She married Gerald Smith, chief petty officer, United States Navy, World War II. Gerald had the honor of escorting President Franklin Roosevelt’s son, Elliot, aboard ship, 1943.
Together Gerald and Marlene, as educators, taught 75 years. Gerald as teacher and principal in Milwaukee Public Schools. Marlene, graduated Sauk County Normal and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, first taught in Little Prairie, a rural school, grades 1-8. Her teaching career spanned 38 years, 31 years in Wauwatosa, teaching grades 4-6, and children with learning disabilities.
To celebrate the bicentennial, Marlene and Gerald, planted 1,000 trees and wild flowers at their cottage and farm. To further celebrate the bicentennial, Marlene, wrote the published play, “Salute to America,” which was presented and placed in a time capsule in Reedsburg, her hometown, and in several other U.S. cities.
She and her fifth grade class received an honorary letter from President Gerald Ford for participating in his W.I.N. Program or Whip Inflation Now, by sending him a copy of their book, “Win Recipes,” featuring sugarless recipes.
Concerned for endangered wildlife she and her fifth grade class wrote to all state governors urging them to observe a Wildlife Day at their state fairs. Wisconsin acting governor Martin Schrieber sent a congratulatory letter to teacher and pupils.
Marlene took pleasure in helping non-profit organizations, advancing educating and causes. After retiring, she taught math and reading skills to adults. For several years she was vice president and scholarship chairman of Delta Kappa Gamma. She also did volunteer work at the Boerner Gardens, Milwaukee County Zoo, and Nativity Lutheran Church, up until the time of her passing.
As chaplain and historian of Milwaukee Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, she traced her genealogy to St. Clair, 800 A.D., with ancestors coming to America in 1627.
Marlene is preceded in death by husband, Gerald Smith; parents, William and Myrtle Gates; sister, Evelyn Orsburne; brothers, Eugene and Harlin Gates; nephews, Harland Orsburne and James Orsburne; nieces, Debbie Orsburne, Sharon Tyler and Darlene Novy.
She is survived by nephews, Gary (Peggy) Orsburne of Janesville, Gene (Ellen) Orsburne of Mountain Home, Arkansas; niece, Patricia Frailey of Legioner, Indiana; and 15 great-grand nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to Teresa (Todd) Tilkens of Green Bay, a great niece and goddaughter who was like a granddaughter.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 27, 2019, at the Wonewoc United Methodist Church; doors open at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Humane Society of Milwaukee.