Dr. Lucy Smith

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Dr. Lucy Smith

June 06, 1935 - July 28, 2018

Lucy Mae Freeman Blum Smith, Superintendent of McAlester Public Schools (MPS) for 21 years, died on 28 July 2018 at age 83 after a lengthy battle with lymphoma, complicated by a broken back and debilitating stroke.  Through it all, she never lost her sense of humor, delightful smile or indomitable spirit.  Lucy was born 6 June 1935 in McAlester, OK to William Perry Freeman and Gladys "Ma" Eckman Freeman (later Helterbrand).
A memorial service for Dr. Lucy is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Saturday 11 August 2018 in the Dr. Lucy Freeman Smith Student Center at the new McAlester High School, 1 Buffalo Drive.
Lucy graduated McAlester High School (MHS) in 1953.  In 1956 she earned a B.A. in Applied Music, summa cum laude, Abilene Christian College (Abilene, TX), in 1967 an MT in Elementary Education, East Central State University (Ada, OK), and in 1975 a MEd in Educational Psychology and PhD in Educational Psychology, University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK).
In 1956 Lucy moved to Switzerland, married Henry Blum of Zurich and they had two children, William John and Gladys Elisa Blum. Lucy returned to McAlester in 1963 and later divorced.  In 1969 she moved to Norman, OK, married Weldon Smith and they had two sons, Spencer Freeman and Matthew Green Freeman Smith.
In Switzerland Lucy taught English for Berlitz Language Programs.  Returning to the U.S., she taught elementary, then vocal music at MHS.  In Norman she taught elementary while working on her doctorate and serving as an OU graduate assistant.  In 1978, Lucy was hired for the new position of Director of Guidance and Counseling at MPS, in 1982 she was appointed Assistant Superintendent, and in 1985 she became MPS Superintendent, one of two female superintendents in Oklahoma.
Her creativity, boundless energy, quest for continual improvement, effective management style and her love of children led to a steady stream of major educational and capital improvements for MPS during her tenure. She served on many boards, commissions and other groups at the state, county, and community level.  Lucy received numerous awards over the years-the most prestigious included receiving the medal honoring Excellence in Administration from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 1994, being named Oklahoma Administrator of the Year by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) in 2006, being given the Career Achievement Award and being selected as One of 75 Who Made a Difference by the OU College of Education in 2005 and being inducted into the Oklahoma Educator Hall of Fame in 2006.  Lucy devoted 45 years to education, both as a teacher from elementary through university level and as an administrator.
Lucy was raised in the Church of Christ and was a devout Christian.  She joined the First Presbyterian Church of McAlester in 1977, sang in the choir and served in several church positions.
Lucy is survived by her husband of 49 years, Weldon Smith, four children and spouses, Bill Blum DDS and Kathy, Lisa Lange MD and Kurt, Spencer Smith JD and Holly, Matthew Smith JD and MariaJose and eight grandchildren, Katie Blum, Adam, Rebecca and Charlie Lange, Connor, Caroline and Jack Smith, and Lucas Smith; she is also survived by her step-siblings, Ken Helterbrand and Hope Tyler and nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her step-father, Pete Helterbrand; step-brother, R.B. Helterbrand; aunts, uncles and cousins.
Many dedicated physicians, nurses and other medical staff gave Lucy outstanding care these last years.  The family would like to thank two doctors in particular.  Dr. Brian Firestone, McGee Eye Institute, cured her eyes of lymphoma and saved her vision with his compassionate and skillful care.  Dr. Ken Miller, McAlester Warren Clinic, went above and beyond as Lucy's personal physician.
If you would like to help continue Lucy's passion for excellence in education in perpetuity, please consider a donation to:  University of Oklahoma Foundation, Dr. Lucy Freeman Smith Memorial Endowed Scholarship, 100 Timberdell, Norman, OK  73019.
Published on August 3, 2018
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