Marge Kirwan Smith died on August 1, 2019 at the age of 93. She is survived by her four sons: David Smith (Andrea Lappen), Doug Smith, Jim Smith (Lorinda Smith), and Jeff Smith (Carolyn Duryea Smith); her daughter, Kathryn, predeceased her in 2016. Marge leaves behind eleven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Marge was a native Californian, born (and raised) in Taft, near Bakersfield, in 1925. In her family of origin she was the youngest of 3 children, with a brother and a sister. Marge attended UC Berkeley in the 1940s, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in English. She taught grade school until her marriage to Edward (Ned) Smith in 1949. Thereafter, she was primarily a homemaker, raising her five children as the family moved from Orinda to St. Helena (1965). She lived in the Napa Valley until her passing.
Marge and her husband, Ned, who passed in 1990, built The Wine Country Inn on Lodi Lane in St. Helena in 1975; it was only the second such bed and breakfast in Northern California at that time. Their son, Jim, managed the Inn until it changed hands two years ago.
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Marge was an intellectual; she loved reading and keeping up on current world affairs. She was a member of the American Association for University Women and the World Affairs Council. As an active advocate for world peace, she was selected to be a member of the first delegation of American women to visit the Soviet Union’s organization of women, helping to promote the thaw of the Cold War and the early stages of Glasnost. She was also active in many progressive social causes, including financial support for local low cost housing at Lugo Park.
Marge returned to teaching for several years after her children were launched, working in Special Education.
Marge was an accomplished painter, favoring landscapes. She also made beautiful quilts. A number of her paintings and quilts graced the rooms of The Wine Country Inn. Marge had a lovely flower garden; she enjoyed her women’s garden club, and had many friends in the community.