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November 5, 2020

Edith Anne Smith (nee Osborne) of Ripley, died suddenly, Nov. 5, 2020, in the home where she was born 88 years ago. Known as Mom to her children, or “Momsie” in a moment of abandon, she started out life at six pounds, 14 ounces, and by the time she was 13 months old, her parents, Lillian (nee Creech) and Wesley Osborne, had to run to catch her. She was born of stern stuff during the depression years on a summer Sunday, Aug. 28, 1932, at 3:45 p.m., and long outlived her younger siblings, Jim and John, surprising herself. And nobody knew how to stretch a penny better than Momsie. She had to. Edith and her husband, Charles (call him Popsie, if you dare), who survives her, were married April 12, 1952. They eventually had four mouths to feed: Kevin (Loretta) Smith of Ripley, Beverley Smith of Mississauga, Michael Smith of Inverhuron, and David (Catherine Richard) Smith of Point Clark. Born in consecutive years, the children got into all sorts of mischief together. They were a creative unit in the days before video games and laptops. Late in life, Mom was still discovering their secret adventures, but by then, the threat of retribution was gone, and they were okay. The family loved to tell these stories, and Mom laughed about it all, in the end. Edith was married in a gauzy, sky-blue dress that still hangs in the family closet and wore a knot of flowers in her hair in that ceremony at Clark’s Church on the 12th Concession. She had taught at a public school in Teeswater for a year, earning the princely sum of $180 per month. She could do math like a whiz in her head, filling up her grocery cart at the IGA in Kincardine, then doing a mental calculation to see what it all cost. And she very quickly subtracted what the family could not afford and replaced it on the shelf before she hit the checkout. We considered ourselves “well off.” Someone told us it meant you had everything you needed. Over the 68 years of her married life, Mom established an armload of favourite things to do. She bought a Singer sewing machine early in her married life and proceeded to sew the family's clothes – even coats. She had done the 4-H thing. She sewed clothes for her mother-in-law, our beloved Grandma Smith (we called her “Bangy” and she signed her Christmas cards that way, too. That’s another story). Anytime somebody had a baby? She’d get her knitting needles out and zip up a little sweater, bonnet and booties set. She knit socks and mitts. We dare say she could crochet, too. She’d rustle up a quilt for folks, sewing all the stitches by hand. She had this crazy quilt house pattern that lived a long time. It was her go-to design. Most of all, she proved especially adept at researching genealogy and would get requests from all parts of the country and beyond the border to find details on ancestors. She was a regular visitor at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton, and contributed a lot of clippings and bits of information during her life. She was such a familiar face there, we think she had her own key to the clippings vault. But don’t ask her to do all of this on a computer. She seemed to be afraid that it would blow up if she touched it. Maybe it would. She had binders full of the fascinating details of people’s lives. She’d clip and clip. When the local paper arrived, if you didn’t get to it quickly, you’d be reading newsprint with holes like Swiss cheese in it. She was “Information Central.” Mention a name from the past, and off she’d sweep from her chair and find the exact binder that had old newspaper photos and stories about the person. She could storm you with information. She knew everybody. And she knew who was related to whom. She knew all the mazes of people’s lives. Sometimes she could surprise you. Once at a family party, we observed her munching on sushi – well outside of her comfort zone. “Mom, do you know you are eating sushi?” we asked, incredulously. “Well, if Braydin can do it, so can I,” she said. And she had some more. But no matter what, nothing - just nothing - was better than ice cream. Particularly if it was Black Cherry. Our Christmas tradition: watching Chevy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation” from a spotty VCR tape. She had a silly streak. Edith is survived by all of her children, and a host of grandchildren: Chad of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Blair of Waterloo, Leanne of Kincardine, Adam of Cambridge, and Kelly-Anne of Australia. And 10 great-grandchildren to boot: Wyatt, Braydin, Rowan, Jack, Ethan, Hughie, Declan, Addison, Emmett and Grayson. All descended from the lady who knit a life together from that little house north of Ripley. We will all miss her pink jello. Cremation has taken place and a private service will be conducted. Interment, Kincardine Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to the MacKenzie and McCreath Funeral Home, Ripley. Condolences and donations can be made on-line at