Harriet G. Smith


Harriet G. Smith passed away on Oct. 11, 2021.

SMITH—Harriet G. Smith, also known as “Happy Feet,” passed away on Oct. 11, 2021, at the age of 98.

Harriet was born in Chambersburg, Penn., on Jan. 18, 1923, the daughter of Harold G. and Ruth (née McCurdy) Van Riper.

She graduated from Carlisle High School and Penn State University. At Penn State, she was elected to the Cwens, a Penn State honor society, was president of the Christian Association and was active in the Westminster Foundation. She then spent a year as an intern with the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education before earning a master's degree from Yale University.

On June 11, 1949, Harriet married Richard K. Smith, a fellow Yale student from Cottage Groove, Ore., in Carlisle, Penn. The couple moved to Ephrata, Wash., in 1950, where she started a community nursery school. Their children, Kirk and Paul, were born there.

In her life, Harriet served as Director of Christian Education at the Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, Conn., and the Little Church on the Prairie in Lakewood, Wash., and as the director of the Valley Presbyterian Day School in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In 1983, she and her husband represented the Presbyterian Church USA to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

She also served on the denomination's Advisory Council on Discipleship and Worship and wrote Vacation Bible School curriculum for Westminster Press. Harrient also participated in a Presbyterian Women's Asian Encounter meeting with women from four Asian countries to discuss women's issues. Harriet was elected as the first woman moderator of the Presbytery of the Grand Canyon.

For over 40 years, Harriet was also known as "Happy Feet" the clown. Combining her interests in humor and modern dance, she was a "fool for Christ" to groups from Connecticut to Panama, from Arizona to Oregon.

She was a member and elder of the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw and Chapter DY of PEO.

Harriet is survived by her husband and their two sons and their spouses: Bishop Kirk and Laura Smith of Phoenix, Ariz,. and the Rev. Paul and Laura Smith, of Watsontown, Penn. There are three grandchildren: Sean Smith of San Jose, Calif., and Jordan Smith and Nathaniel Smith of New York City.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw, 3996 Highway 101, Florence, to help provide housing for a homeless family with children.

Burns's Riverside Chapel will be handling arrangements.

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