Kathryn Joan Smith found peace and freedom in the arms of her Lord on January 21, 2023. The doctors will tell you that brain cancer took her life. Her family and friends will tell you that she survived nine years after being diagnosed with an incurable grade IV Glioblastoma brain tumor. She experienced grand vacations to Alaska, Maine, and various Carolina beaches; sweet memories with her loving husband of 52 years, Kim; grandchildren growing up; great-grandchildren toddling around; and heartfelt moments with her sisters, siblings, huge extended family, and dear friends.
Kathy was born on March 2, 1952, the firstborn to Evelyn and Harold Carlisle. She was a whip-smart girl who excelled in school and was elected to the National Honor Society as a Junior, sang beautifully in the choir, snagged top roles for several musical performances, and joined the Chess Club to meet smart boys. Kathy’s beauty, grace, and intelligence did turn the head of a smart, red-headed boy.
Kathy and Kim began dating in high school, were married in 1970, and soon after, started their family by welcoming daughter, Melanie and son, Patrick. The young family took incredible camping vacations every year (they could put up an old canvas tent and start a fire in record time). They enjoyed many national parks, the Smoky Mountains, the Shenandoahs, and the coasts of Maine, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Long hours were spent playing family games in a screen tent, hiking trails in many national parks, eating fire baked pies in the dark, playing car bingo and card games to pass the time on long drives and rainy days, and learning about the world from park rangers over evening campfires. Kathy discovered Kiawah Island and she and Kim took incredible family beach vacations at her favorite place. She also treasured her trips to Israel, Petra, London, and Jordan. Kathy and Kim spent weeks in Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone.
Kathy believed deeply in the importance of education, particularly for women and for those with little means. She began her own college career in her 30’s at The University of Akron and completed a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology, a Master’s of Art in Psychology, and post-Master’s coursework in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
While her children were young, Kathy drove a school bus for Akron Public Schools and was a real estate agent. While attending college, Kathy worked at Bierce Library, The University of Akron, and taught classes as a graduate assistant. Kathy was the Headmaster of Cornerstone Community School in Tallmadge and started her own successful business, College Navigators. Most recently, Kathy had a successful career in real estate, joining the Million Dollar Club at Keller Williams Chervenic Realty.
Kathy accepted Jesus Christ as her savior during high school and was active in the Middlebranch Grace Brethren church youth group. She excelled on the Bible quiz team, which competed at the national level at Grace College. In the 1970’s, Kathy served as a deaconess and youth sponsor at the Cathedral of Tomorrow. Kathy was a charter member of Victory Life Church in Stow, serving in multiple capacities, leading women and teaching Bible studies. Kathy treasured her time serving others in Bible Study Fellowship International. She was highly admired and developed many close relationships with the women in BSF.
Those who preceded her in death are: her mother, Evelyn Carlisle Hilkey; brothers, Cliff and baby Christman; sister, Theresa; and nephews, Nathan and Billy. Remaining to remember her joy-filled life are: husband, Kim Smith; children, Melanie Smith-Farrell (Ken Farrell) and Patrick Smith; grandchildren, Drew, Justin, Audrey, Benjamin, Nicole, and Anna; great-grandchildren, Owen and Dean; sisters, Jennifer Blevins (Terry), Spring Keasler (Gary), Mary Riley (Dennis), Kristen and Megan Hilkey; brothers, Hal Carlisle, Steve Glancy (Lori), Dale Glancy (Angie), Michael and Justin Hilkey. Kathy loved her 51 nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews, dear friends from Bible Study Fellowship, and lifetime friends from Victory Life Church.
Donations in Kathy’s name can be made to Bible Study Fellowship International (bsfinternational.org/support/). Kathy’s family would like to thank Summa Home Hospice for their gentle and loving care.
Friends and family will be received Friday, January 27th from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, January 28th from 10 to 11 a.m. at Victory Life Church, 3833 Hudson Dr. Stow, OH 44224. A funeral service will be held at the church on Saturday, January 28th at 11 a.m. with Pastor Matthew Skifstad officiating. Burial will follow at Uniontown Greenlawn Cemetery.