1937 Ethel 2022

Ethel Smith

January 18, 1937 — December 31, 2022

Ethel L. Smith, 85, passed away on January 2, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Lucile Mauch, her husband Don DeWayne Smith, and her daughter Renee Smith. She is survived by her son, Don DeeWayne (Dee) Smith II, her daughter-in-law Luci Smith; her grandchildren Cheryl (Barry) Morgan, Christy Hill, Lisa (Adam) Longbine, Stephanie Longbine, Nikole Pope, Trey Smith, Sidney Smith and Marcus Smith; and 9 great-grandchildren.

Ethel was born at the Mauch family farm on October 18, 1937 outside Gregory, Texas. Over her extraordinary lifetime, Ethel experienced the entire modern 21st-century world come into being. Her childhood farm home (the "Old Home Place" outside Gregory), like most farms in San Patricio County, did not have running water - they still used cisterns. Moreover, there was no electricity until FDR's New Deal made it into South Texas in the 1940's - that's the way it was when she was in elementary school.

During her high school career, Ethel was involved in nearly every activity imaginable - knowing at every event, her beloved mother would there in support. Ethel distinguished herself as an athlete (following in her mother's footsteps as a basketball player); in the arts as a trumpet player, twirler, and drum major for Mr. Traeger's GPHS Band; and academically in a variety of fields - especially in Madge Simon's beloved mathematics classes; as well as almost every club on campus. Ethel ended her amazing high school career as Valedictorian of Gregory-Portland High School Class of 1956.

Ethel L. Mauch attended the University of Texas at Austin - and again, she soared to the limits of what women of her time were allowed to become. She adored her Alpha Omicron Pi sorority sisterhood; played intramural basketball at UT (there were no collegiate women's sports then); enjoyed social clubs (although occasionally she was told not to sing) - all while being one of the 20th century's female pioneers in STEM. She was told often by her male professors that "math is a man's field, honey - you need to change majors and find a husband". Needless to say, Ethel wasn't standing for that and excelled in all her classes just to prove them wrong.

There was one man Ethel met at while at UT Austin who did understand and adore her radiance: A gorgeous, mysterious, infamous East Austin DJ named Don DeWayne Smith (aka Smitty) she met at a sorority dance. They fell in love, married, and moved back to the farm where they spent nearly 40 years together in marriage until Smitty preceded her in death in 2000.

Ethel L. Smith continued to break glass ceilings throughout her professional career. After an extended period at the old PPG analytical chemistry lab in Corpus, Ethel found that being the most qualified person in 5 counties wasn't good enough to land a corporate job at Reynolds Metals. The year after the Equal Rights Amendment was passed, DuPont next door created one job for a woman, and that's all the chance Ethel needed. Her DuPont career (1973-2000) spanned three of the most pivotal decades in business history - she literally watched the transition from punch cards to mainframes to the internet before she retired.

Above and beyond being a true career woman, Ethel was a devoted mother and daughter. She always made time somehow to cover her kids' (Dee and Renee) school events, hold a family together, make sure her parents were always well cared for, and assist her father with his business. She truly impacted the many lives she touched, and in her later years was able to reap the fruits of decades of good deeds. People would always come up to Ethel when she was out in town to thank her for some kindness or just to give her a hug and tell her they loved her.

For those left behind, it's clear that Ethel set a high bar of love, integrity, and character by a life truly well lived. She will be missed but her legacy is now a part of our daily lives...truly a woman way ahead of her time.




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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, January 27, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

Charlie Marshall Funeral Home-Aransas Pass

TX

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