Elizabeth Ann 'Birdie' Smith


Elizabeth Ann “Birdie” Smith, 94, of Phoenix,  Ariz., passed away Oct. 14, 2018.

Birdie was born on Sept. 22, 1924, in Menominee, Mich., to her parents Dr. William S. Jones and Edith Jackman Jones.

Birdie graduated in 1946 from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science degree in education and a minor in botany. She was a proud member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

Following graduation, she taught first grade in Battle Creek, Mich. While at Northwestern, she met her first love and future husband Robert Steiner. They were married in the summer of 1946. Sadly, he died 5 years later, just days after being diagnosed with bulbar polio. Birdie was widowed with their son Robert, 4, and daughter Susan, almost 2.

Time and fate would bring her second love, Alan Smith into her life. Birdie and Alan were married in 1953 and together they enjoyed 63 years together until Alan’s death in 2016 at the age of 91. They started their life together in Port Washington. It was because of the family owned restaurant  business, Smith Bros. Fish Shanty, they found themselves moving west in 1964 to Redondo Beach, Calif., with their four children in tow.

Alan was now overseeing two restaurants, one in Beverly Hills on the iconic Restaurant Row and the other in Torrance. Birdie was so proud and supportive of the family business and was known to help whenever needed.

Birdie and Alan enjoyed a wonderful life together in Redondo Beach. They had so many dear friends, loved entertaining in their home and were active in the community in various capacities. Birdie was a proud member of the DAR, PEO, and the Northwestern Alumni.

In 1989, Birdie and Alan moved to Sedona, Ariz., a place they always loved. They became involved in their community and were devoted members of The Church of the Red Rocks. They loved their years spent in Sedona playing golf, entertaining friends and simply enjoying their spectacular views of the majestic red rocks.

After 25 years in Sedona, they moved to Phoenix in 2013 to be closer to family.

We will all remember Birdie’s love of God, family and country above anything else. She was as patriotic as a person could be — a very proud American.

She was at her absolute happiest when she was doing something in her home. Nothing brought her more joy than cooking or baking. She will always be remembered for her outstanding skills in the kitchen and her hundreds of amazing recipes.

Birdie loved tending to her garden, playing bridge, mahjong, calligraphy and china painting, and she adored knitting and crocheting. Birdie had a wonderful gift of writing and was told countless times over the years that she should write for Hallmark.

She loved to entertain in her home and attend social gatherings. She had an unbelievable sense of humor and could laugh freely at herself. Birdie loved the holidays when we’d gather with friends and family and especially looked forward to playing board games, cards or dice.

She was a loving wife, mom, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She was extremely thoughtful and kind and made every attempt to show others how appreciative she was in response to even the smallest gestures. Birdie would be the first to admit, she had one incredibly happy life that was full of many blessings.

Birdie was preceded in death by her loving husband, Alan Smith. She was also preceded by her parents, Dr. and Mrs. William S. Jones; her brother, Dr. William S. Jones, Jr.; and her sister, Mary Jones Higley, all of Menominee, Mich.
She is survived by her four children, Dr. Robert Steiner (Dr. Kim Leatham) of Bainbridge Island, Wash., Susan (Dr. Carl) Irwin of Phoenix, Jeff (Audrey) Smith of Reno, Nev., Gwynne (Jim) Fijan of Phoenix; seven grandchildren, Dr. Spencer (Ardra) Hansen of Phoenix, Stuart Hansen (Keely Cambridge) of Phoenix, Elyse (Travis) Hansen of Reno, Skylar (Andi) Smith of Scottsdale, Taylor (Ashley) Fijan of Manhattan Beach, Calif., Kara Fijan of West Hollywood, Calif., and Jack Fijan of Phoenix; five great-grandchildren, Luci and Presley Hansen of Phoenix, Elliott and Remy Hansen of Reno and the newest and only great-grandson, Beckham Smith of Scottsdale; along with many nieces and nephews.

We would like to extend our special thanks to the kind staff at La Siena Senior Living Community in Phoenix and the loving care provided by Hospice of the Valley.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Church of the Red Rocks, 54 Bowstring Dr., Sedona, AZ 86336; Hospice of the Valley, www.hov.org/arizona; or the Arizona Humane Society, www.azhumane.org.

A memorial will be at 3 p.m. Sunday Nov. 18, 2018, at Hansen Desert Hills Chapel, 6500 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale 85254.

Condolences can be made at www.hansenmortuary.com.




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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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