Cover photo for Kathleen Smithson's Obituary
Kathleen Smithson Profile Photo
1944 Kate 2024

Kathleen Smithson

July 7, 1944 — April 6, 2024

Smithson, Kathleen (Kate) Elizabeth Naomi (nee Beatty) passed away peacefully on April 6, 2024 with her beloved husband of 53 years, Bruce, by her side.  Kate is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Jerica, her daughter Lauren, her grandchildren Sophia, Sara, and Tirion, and her brother Al.  She was predeceased by her mother, Frances Beatty (nee McCabe) and her brother Guy Beatty, whom she always missed.

 Kate was born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on July 7, 1944.  She moved to the Toronto area at the age of 7, which was the start of a life of adventure.  She became a teacher at the age of 19, a profession that she loved as it allowed her to be involved in the lives of her colleagues and students.   Her work took her to Soest, Germany, where she developed lifelong friendships and met her husband, Bruce Smithson.  They married in Germany in 1971, beginning a half century of friendship, faith and deep, evident love.  Experiencing new places and meeting new people was the mantra of Bruce and Kate’s lives together.  Early in their married life they traveled overland to India in a camper, making memories and friends that would enrich them forever.  They never stopped.  After globetrotting for a year, they returned to Canada to build a home and start a family in Dunrobin, Ontario.  

 Kate taught in a few schools in the Ottawa area, building deep friendships with colleagues that carried into the next generation, as their kids also became close.  She completed her master’s degree in education while raising a young family, a testament to her determination and resilience.  After a Canadian career of teaching history, guidance counseling and cooperative education, Kate continued her professional passion by moving to Abu Dhabi to teach for 7 years, and then to Basel, Switzerland for another 3 years before retiring.  She had a deep commitment to the success of her students, always going the extra distance to set them on the right path.  Her keen perception into the heart and character of others was part of what made her so incredibly special and loved by those who knew her.  It was a gift that extended beyond her professional life; she had a way of knowing the heart of someone after only a short time in their company, allowing her to befriend strangers on the road (literally) who would then be forever a part of her life.

 Even in retirement she did not slow down as she had a great curiosity for knowledge, delving into books and current affairs, working to improve the lives of Afghan women through the University Women Helping Afghan Women (UWHAW) group, caring for others, hosting fabulous gatherings, and forming strong relationships with new and old friends.  She had a great way of making people feel welcome and important.  She and Bruce traveled to Guatemala to work in an underserved area, building churches and hospital facilities.  Their church families in Venice, Florida, and Nepean, Ontario, were extremely important in their lives and included friends who held Bible study together weekly for over 40 years.  Kate lived a life of faith in God and His Son, and her character reflected His selflessness, putting others ahead of herself with thoughtfulness and a generosity of spirit.  She was a true blessing and encouragement to those whom she touched.  She lived a Christ-led and Christ-filled life and believed in His salvation, and His guidance, even while suffering.  

 In the later years of her life, she lived with a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which was very limiting to someone who was constantly adventuring.   Regardless, she bore this disease with grace and with the knowledge that God has a plan for his children…and traveled anyway, managing a 7-week trip to the UK to see family and friends who meant so much to her.  Through her illness she met even more people who came to know her dauntless spirit and see Christ’s love through her.  Her courage and her determination to live life to the fullest was evident to her last breath.

 She was an intelligent, beautiful woman who was loved beyond measure those who knew her.   Around the world, she touched the hearts of so many with her warmth, generosity and strength.  We grieve the loss of her presence, but we will see her again. 

 A celebration of life followed by a reception will be held at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church on Woodroffe Ave Friday April 26th, 2024 at 2pm.  All those who loved her are welcome and encouraged to join in person or by live stream online through the following link:

In lieu of flowers, donations to the University Women Helping Afghan Women (UWHAW) ( or the Salud Que Transforma charity for the Guatemala mission would be appreciated.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, April 26, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

St Paul's Presbyterian Church

971 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, ON K2A 3G9

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