Friday, December 2, 2016

Harry Smith: 1930 to 2026

I am on an interesting list at church.  I was intrigued one day when a note came out saying that the bishop had come into possession of a number of good quality men's suits and then the size of the suits was given.  The note said that if no one needed them, he would donate them to the Goodwill.  I don't know what happened to the suits, but if they had been ladies, and my size, I would have taken them.

Yesterday came an obituary of a man who was either in our ward, or who was influential because either he had kids the age of my children, or he was organizing some athletic endeavour in the church that our family was interested in.

Harry Clifford Smith
Harry Smith was his name.

If you have an extra minute to spare and knew Harry, you will like to read this obituary, I think.

Reading the text of the obituary brought back old memories for me.

When some of my kids were little, and the bitty ball programme was expanding there were not enough uniforms for the teams.  I had taken some Stretch and Sew lesson and had a surger.  I think the church must have paid for the material and I donated the labour.  I am sure I could still sew one of those patterns with my eyes closed.

My strongest memory is going to help out at bitty ball.  We had corners where little ones were learning to just bounce the ball.  I think some dribbling drills were done up and down the halls.




  1. I sent this note to the family:

    My mom shared the news with me re Harry Smith’s passing. I loved reading the obituary, and being reminded of the many ways that he is woven through the memories of my childhood and youth. My memories of bitty ball are woven with his constant presence, and his profoundly kind and gentle approach to us as kids. He was, I think, the first ‘social worker’ I knew. Or at least, I was told he was a social worker, and I remember, being puzzled, wondering what that was. Whatever it was, I knew that he was it. Seems funny to me now, acknowledging that he is in my mind almost anytime I meet someone in social work: he is the standard in the background. He epitomized much of what it meant to really honour the work of the social, to honour the work of ‘work’, to honour the place of young people, and to invest in time spent with them. I did not know that he was honoured by by being given a name by the Blackfoot Nation, but I am not surprised: he is a man who long took seriously the need to make real the practices of reconciliation, and connection with land and people. He is an important piece of the fabric of my heart, and raise my hands to him. I love knowing that he took the next ride forward in the morning. Please know that I am also carrying memories of him deep in my own heart.