Elizabeth Smith Lindsey, age 93, passed away Sunday March 11, 2012, at Montereau, her retirement home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Elizabeth was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on January 10, 1919. Her parents were Horace Holley Smith and Louisa Wardner Lamson Smith. She grew up in Washington D.C. and Plainfield, New Jersey, and graduated from American University. She married Alton Anthony Lindsey on June 2, 1939, in a service performed by Al's father which took place at Elizabeth's mother's home. Among the guests were Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the leader of the Second Antarctic Expedition on which the groom had been selected to participate as vertebrate zoologist. The couple honeymooned an entire summer in Glacier National Park where Al was a naturalist. They moved to Redlands, California, and later to Albuquerque where both their children were born. A move to West Lafayette, Indiana in 1947 began a nearly 50 year stay while she worked as Assistant to the Registrar at Purdue University where her husband was a professor of plant ecology and conservationist until he retired in 1973. The family of four explored national parks, forests and seashores on summer camping vacations, and both Elizabeth and Al shared with their children their deep appreciation for the natural world. Back in Indiana, they had a weekend home called Pine Valley which they bought to use as a "hide-away, for gardening, growing Christmas trees and, especially, for rearing two children," as Al put it. Elizabeth was a loving and nurturing mother, a Scout leader and a magnet to her children's friends. She was continually supportive of her husband's scientific endeavors. She shared an avid love of bird watching with her husband, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on a birding trip to Trinidad Tobago. She volunteered at her Methodist church in West Lafayette, Indiana, and after moving to Tulsa in 1996, both she and Al were active at New Haven United Methodist Church. She volunteered at the church office as long as she was able to drive. After celebrating 60 years of marriage, Alton Lindsey passed away in 1999 at age 92.
For over eight years Elizabeth lived happily at Montereau, a Tulsa retirement community, making many new friends. She especially enjoyed singing in the chorus. Elizabeth was honored in 2011 for being a 70 year member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a philanthropic, educational organization that held her devotion. She also was honored for 75 years in the Phi Mu Fraternity. She received a plaque from Tulsa's Grace Hospice for whom she had knitted scarves and booties for patients for several years. The award came when it was amusingly revealed that she often did her knitting while pedaling an exercise bicycle in her apartment! She kept knitting up until a couple weeks before her death.
Elizabeth will be remembered for many wonderful qualities. One expressed by so many of her family and friends is her positive, encouraging and kind nature. She was always saying words of praise and appreciation of others, giving support and cheers such as "You've done nobly," or "Go to the head of the class!" She kept a diary since the day she married, and enjoyed looking back and appreciating her life.
She was a woman who was positive and loving to the core. She celebrated life and touched all those who knew her with her joyful attitude.
Elizabeth is survived by son David Earl Lindsey of Gainesville, VA and his wife Son Lindsey, granddaughter Sondra Abraham and her husband Faisal Abraham and great grandchildren Isaiah David Abraham and Leylani Cho Abraham, also of Gainsville, VA. She is also survived by her daughter Louise Whitmarsh Lindsey of Tulsa, Oklahoma, sister Caroline Smith Percival of Bloomington, Indiana, and extended family in Tulsa: Joe Sanders, Renee Sanders, Mitsy and Jesse Willett and German Rios. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Alton Anthony Lindsey, sister Katherine Louise Smith Craig, and grandson Lindsey Vern Becker.
Services for Elizabeth will be held at New Haven United Methodist Church at 56th & New Haven at 10:30 am on Monday, March 19, 2012. Internment will be Earth Day weekend, April 21, 2012, at Willow Hill Moravian Church in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Memorial donations may be made to New Haven United Methodist Church or to the P.E.O. Sisterhood's educational projects.