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Obituary: Katherine Frances Smith

— Katherine Frances Smith, formerly Katherine Frances Terlecky, born Sept. 22, 1945, died June 18, 2012.

Called Kay, she had a big sister named Felicite Anne and a pet duck.

Her parents, Frances and John Terlecky lived in Alexandria, on Mount Vernon Avenue. John owned a jewelry shop on upper King street; Frances worked at the Pentagon as an office administrator.

Kay and her sister played all day at their grandfather's (Dee Dee's) house on Mount Vernon Avenue with their many friends. Here she learned to appreciate, and create art with her paint set, and play with her dolls and watch the Mickey Mouse Club on TV.

Kay attended Saint Mary's Academy with her friends, as all of her past relatives had. She was remarkable as a softball pitcher, a "blackbird baked in a pie," and an up-and-coming actress.

A determined soul, she had a rebellious nature that led to her entering marriage at a very young age. Having two children by her 18th birthday, Kay had to grow up fast. Her husband was in Viet Nam and she was deeply disturbed and permanently marked by the horrors, particularly to children of that war. Her first marriage ended after a few years and she remarried and had a third child by her 22nd birthday. Fast forward a few years and Kay divorced for a second time.

Her nature and spirit pulled her through hard times and she raised three boys on her own while completing a college degree. Kay will always be known for her unsinkable spirit and love of her family.

She was a fan of Conway Twitty, Ricky Nelson, and Patsy Cline. She sang loud, in the shower, believing that a talent scout for Walt Disney lived right next door. And she loved to sing “My Way!”

She married at 16, had three sons Charlie, Jerry, and David; became a great cook, and an avid outdoorswoman. Her outdoor adventures in the wilds of the Shenandoah and Colonial Beach are legendary.

She attended Northern Virginia Community College, where she graduated with honors in accounting. Together with her sister Flip they tackled the financial jungles of Washington, D.C. business life.

Her last career posting was at Acropolis BookslColortone Press, where she was prized as chief comptroller of the publisher and printer. During this time, she became an accomplished oil painter, crafter, businesswoman and rose gardener. She loved to travel and might be seen in either the Caribbean, or in Rome. She was a veteran car camper, and long distance traveler. She toured the sites of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Canada, and Maryland's eastern shore.

She had a strange attraction for pulling into small hotels or motels that recalled the movie; "Psycho", thus scaring the wits out of her children, just to make sure they appreciated her efforts at happy traveling.

She was invited to a one-time chance to see Elvis, in concert, only to turn it down out of fear he might ask her up on stage. Yet, she suffered without complaint through 2 KISS concerts with her rowdy children.

She taught her children how to cook, clean, wash garden and especially take out the trash, all before they started kindergarten.

She taught Charlie and Jerry how to be 3 years older than they were so as to fly to their Gramma Swanson's on their own. This had some bad repercussions when they became teenagers, always remedied by curfews and withholding allowances.

She retired to her home where she collected curios, dishes, cooking appliances, old videos, and Agatha Christie books, argued with Charlie about family history, chased Jerry around with her Dr. Scholls' sandal, and stored David's car projects in her driveway. She loved her cat, Mosby, and her dog, Cassie. She stayed with her Mother Frances and eldest son Charlie for the last many years, and loved her grandchildren like royalty, especially her first Christopher.

She loved dinners with her up-and-coming gourmet son, David, and loved listening to her beloved Rolling Stones.

She has left us all with the joy, wonder, and knowledge of her existence.

Her family included son Charles Swanson and wife Line,

son Jerry Swanson and fiancée Therese and grandson Dakota, son David Smith, wife Pamela, grandsons Christopher, Zachary and Garrett and granddaughter Tara Haley, and sister Felicite Macfarlane and fiancé Howard Watson.

The family trusts Kay is at rest with her grandson Ricky Swanson, her brother-in-law Richard A. Macfarlane, her uncle Bubby Thomas, and her departed parents and grandparents.