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Myrtle Smith
March 30, 1934-January 5, 2017
Myrtle was born in Ione, Washington on March 30th, 1934 to Gladys and Harold Gilmore. At birth, Myrtle weighed not quite 2 Lbs. There were no incubators available at that time, so hot water bottles, among other things, were used to keep her temperature in a normal range. From that precarious beginning, Myrtle continued with a normal growth pattern. As years went by she experienced typical, (or not so typical), childhood problems, such as cutting her knee wide open to the bone when she fell from a hay wagon. It required a number of stitches. And, so the story goes, the doctor used a large curved needle to sew her up. The doctor was surprised that she didn't make a sound throughout the ordeal, but when finished she said to the doctor, "I could have done a better job with my mother's sewing needles". That was not her only encounter with doctors. There were still about 5 more operations in her future. With two of them being major ones. Myrtle was the family story keeper. Her childhood was full of memories of learning to ride on the broad back of a huge plow horse named Dolly, feeding chickens and gathering eggs and being escorted to and from school by a wire fox terrier. She learned to swim in the Pend Oreille River. She hated her name and wanted to go by her middle name. Her mom said "no" even when she came home crying because the boys at school chanted, "Myrtle has a turtle in her girdle. "Myrtle and her sister Mary Ann attended Arlington elementary and she continued to meet with her graduating grade school classmates for lunch every year since. She met Earl while she attended Rogers High School and he attended rival North Central High School. They have been inseparable ever since. While attending Rogers High School, Myrtle enjoyed being a member of the "Pirettes" girls marching unit. She marched in many parades and football games, even went to the state football championship game held in Seattle (which Rogers won). In her senior year she received the "Honored Pirette Award". On the day of graduation, in the afternoon of her last day of school, she and her boyfriend got married. Earl & Myrtle were married in June of 1952. They had daughter Carol in 1955 and son Allan in 1958. They celebrated 60 years of marriage surrounded by friends and family in 2012. She was the best mom ever. She worried about us constantly and kept us from killing ourselves and each other. If Earl and Myrtle were Ward and June, Allan was definitely the Beaver. She bragged about us to perfect strangers and encouraged us in everything we did, even into adulthood. She loved to sew and made us school clothes every year. Sometimes she had to sew them twice, like the time Carol climbed the picket fence to visit the next door neighbor and tore the back of the skirt off her beautiful yellow dress right before church on Easter morning. She loved animals. We shared our home with several dogs and cats and birds over the years, from canaries to finches to lovebirds. And chickens, ducks, geese and pheasants that we took to the Interstate Fair with the horses. She hated snakes and had an ongoing war with the squirrels in her yard. She said she thought her next dog would be a collie. Myrtle was artistic. She made quilts and did Brazilian embroidery and pottery. Everyone received a piece made with Mt. St. Helen's ash glaze in the 80's. She decorated for every holiday and wore a jacket with the American flag on it every 4th of July. And she loved to garden. We had vegetables every year and ponds with fish and tadpoles and frogs, with handmade water fountains made of old brass instruments. Her favorite place was her Japanese Garden. Allan and Dad moved a lot of dirt, rock and cement block over the years to match the picture of what she envisioned her yard could be. Everywhere she went, she was looking for that special rock or piece of driftwood to add to the yard. There are so many great memories of summers at Marshall Lake and the cabin at Lake Pend Oreille with Nancy & Bob Griffin. She loved growing all sorts of flowers, especially lilacs. She always shared starts and bulbs of everything she grew. Her garden extends to the yards of friends, neighbors and family. She loved flower arranging. She made all the corsages and bouquets for Carol's wedding and sewed her wedding dress and dress for maid-of-honor Kathie Neuberger. She was Kathie's second mom since third grade. Myrtle was a member of the Women of Rotary and Daughters of the Nile. Her interest in flowers blossomed into the use of her artistic talent in competitions designing and arranging flowers. She belonged to several garden clubs over the years, from small local clubs to bigger associations, and the Washington Federation. She was a charter member of the National Lilac Society, and helped in the naming of a new Lilac, the "Spokane Lilac."She traveled across the State every year to compete with her arrangements. Son-in-law Dana said, "Give her a fistful of sticks and she could make an arrangement out of them." She always said the best part of the yearly trip was getting to visit her first grandson Justin and his wife, Tri. Myrtle adored her three grandsons, Justin, Travis and Taylor. Taylor and Coleen's wedding was held in her Japanese Garden. She loved spending time with the kids and was always available to babysit. Almost every photo of her has grandkids in it, and in the last 11 years, her grandsons gave her 6 amazing great-grandkids. She beamed when recounted how great-grandson Charles gave her a big hug and told her, "You're the best great-grandma ever." She was. It wouldn't be Easter without the Easter egg hunt in her