MADISON / GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.—Elizabeth Smith died on Nov. 3, 2018. She was born in Niedergösgen, Switzerland on Feb. 12, 1926, to Karl and Jeanne Bircher. She spent her childhood in Aarau before her family moved to Zürich, where she graduated from nursing school. In 1950, with the intention of staying just a few years, she came to the U.S. on the Queen Mary, to help friends in Indiana with their newborn.
Later that year she began work as a pediatric nurse at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Illinois, where she met Dean Smith, a Northwestern University medical student. They were married in 1951, and spent nearly 66 years together living first in Chicago, then Cleveland, and finally in Madison, where Dean established his surgical practice in 1957. Her given name was Elsbeth, which she Americanized to Elizabeth. She became a U.S. citizen in 1959.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dean; her parents; her brother, Peter; and sister, Susi. She is survived by her daughters, Christine (Tom) Vickerman of Waukesha, and Teresa (Greg) Barlow of Golden Valley; and son, Garrick (Martina) Smith of Schönenberg, Switzerland. She is also survived by nine grandchildren, Erica, Brian (Gretchen), Kevin (Elizabeth) and Philip Barlow, Brett and Carly Vickerman, and Ellie, Dylan, and Tyler Smith; step great-granddaughter, Ainsley; and her rescue dog, Ryder.
She loved feeding all the wildlife in her yard and enjoyed nothing more than walking her dogs. She and Dean enjoyed the companionship of eight German Shepherds during their life together. She loved to read and outfitted her grandchildren in beautiful hand and machine knit clothing!
Dean and Elizabeth enjoyed several trips to Switzerland. In both 1994 and 1998, the entire family including all grandchildren enjoyed three special weeks together exploring Switzerland.
She moved May 15, 2017, to Golden Valley, Minn., to a retirement community shortly after Dean’s death. She enjoyed being close to Terry and family but deeply missed her husband, her beloved home on Driftwood Ave., and Madison. She had a wonderful summer this year with all of her children and grandchildren at the family cabin in Hayward, Wis.
She was kind, compassionate and treasured her family. We loved and cherished her and will miss her dearly.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, for Elizabeth and Dean at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, from 2 p.m. to 4 pm. Their legacy will live on as the family continues to share summers together on Grindstone Lake.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Dane County Humane Society. Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.