Martha Elizabeth “Betty” Woodward Smith

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Martha Elizabeth “Betty” Woodward Smith passed away November 7, 2012, with all her children by her side at Tecumseh Place, Tecumseh, Michigan.

She was born to John and Grace (Baker) Woodward March 18, 1924 in Kansas City, Mo., and spent her early childhood in Ferguson, Mo., then moved to Chicago, where she studied voice from the age of thirteen. At age 14, she sang in Grant Park with the American Concert Orchestra of the WPA and from then on performed on the radio and in many other venues. She continued her degree work at the Cosmopolitan Conservatory and studied opera with Ruth Heizer and taught at the Calumet Conservatory. She married Mahlon (Bud) Smith in 1946 and continued her musical studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio until they moved to Adrian in 1949 where Bud began teaching at Adrian Junior High School.

Betty Smith was a beloved voice teacher at Adrian College from 1954 to 1989. She had many private students as well and sang throughout the area, soloing with the City Band, in productions at the Croswell, at churches and in recitals at Adrian College, all while raising five children. She directed choirs in Tecumseh, at the college, and at Adrian First United Methodist Church, where she and her family were active members. She played piano up to the last month of her life. Betty has held office in many organizations including her church, Church Women United, the Community Concert Board, Matinee Musicale, Opera Lenawee, NATS, the American Parkinson’s Foundation and others.

Her family, her music and her church were the center of her life. She loved gardening, knitting, sewing, needlework, baking, hiking with Bud and having friends and family around her in their home.

She is survived by her children: Martha (Robert) Gale of Philadelphia; Melissa (Hal) Stimson of Keller, Tex; Laura (John) Blackburn of Muscle Shoals, Ala; Nathan (Kathy) Smith of Tecumseh; and Sarah (Don) Williams of Ann Arbor; ten grandchildren, three great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bud Smith, her four siblings, John, George and Richard Woodward and Janet Barclay, and her parents.

A memorial celebration of Betty’s life was held Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at the Adrian First United Methodist Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, Adrian College Department of Music or Hospice of Lenawee. Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagley Funeral Home where condolences are welcome at

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