SIM was saddened to share the passing of Catherine Anne (Lane) Smith, MLIS ’90. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.
Read the full obituary here or below.
Catherine Anne (Lane) Smith died peacefully with grace and dignity on Monday, February 17, 2020 with her children by her side, after a three-month illness caused by cancer.
Ann was predeceased by her parents, Richard and Hazel Lane; her older brother, Annesley, her beloved older sister, Morwen; and her husband, Rowland. She is survived by her two children, Russell Smith of Toronto and Belinda Smith of Halifax; her grandson, Hugo and his mother Jowita of Toronto; her nieces, Vernice, Morwen and Sharon of South Africa and Christine of Hong Kong.
Ann was born on a mission station in Dysselsdorp in the District of Oudtshoorn, Cape Province, South Africa on October 16, 1939 to a Methodist Minister and his wife whose parents had emigrated from Ireland to South Africa in the early 1800’s. After the divorce of her parents, Ann lived at the Ethelbert Children’s Home and Orphanage in Malvern from the age of 9-14. Ann was always grateful to the Ethelbert for the care and stability they offered her during a sad period of her life. After Ann’s parents remarried, her parents moved to a remote and beautiful valley in the Swartberg Mountains called Gamkaskloof where her father was the school teacher. During this time, Ann went to Oudtshoorn Girls’ High School. She graduated in 1958.
Following high school, Ann and her parents moved to Pietermaritzburg so that Ann could attend the University of Natal where she earned a Bachelor of Arts and Certificate in Education in 1961, with a major in English and Africaans. At University, Ann met Rowland Smith who came from Johannesburg. Ann was active at University in the choral society and drama club, played field hockey and fenced, and was a political activist. Ann and Rowland were married in 1962 in Lincoln College Oxford where Rowland was a Rhodes Scholar. Their wedding was officiated by the Reverend Vivian Green who is rumoured to have been the inspiration for John le Carré’s character of George Smiley. Ann and Rowland’s son Russell was born in Johannesburg where they had returned for Rowland to complete his PhD and teach English at the University of Witswatersrand.
Ann and Rowland became increasingly anxious living in South Africa after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 and under the oppressive apartheid regime. So, when Rowland noticed a bulletin about Killam Fellowships at Dalhousie University, he applied and became one of the first Killam Scholars. It was an award that changed their lives, as the little family moved to Farrell Street in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to begin a new adventure for a year. When Ann, Rowland and Russell moved back to South Africa in 1965, they knew it would not be for long. Rowland was offered a teaching position at Dalhousie University; the family emigrated to Canada in 1967, but not before adopting their daughter Belinda who was born in Johannesburg. The adjustment to Canada without friends and family was hard – as it often is for immigrants – but Ann grew to love Canada and especially Halifax, which she has always regarded as home.
After substitute teaching for many years, Ann taught grade 4 at the Halifax Grammar School for 10 years before undertaking a Masters of Library Science at Dalhousie at the age of 50. Ann held several positions in Halifax in the library world, including at Saint Mary’s University where she made life-long friends. In 1994, Ann and Rowland moved to Kitchener-Waterloo where Ann worked at Library Bound Inc. In 2004, now in Calgary, Ann volunteered at her church and for Wordfest, a literary festival. When her husband died in 2008, Ann returned to Halifax, and after 14 years away, reconnected effortlessly with old friends as if she had never been gone.
Ann’s late passions were the preservation of habitat, both for the welfare of humans and animals. Ann loved reading and music – her taste in music was eclectic – and she loved knitting; but as she usually knitted during the evening with her glasses of wine, the results were often hit and miss.
Ann was a wonderful cook and hosted elegant dinner parties. She was a model of wit and good humour, intelligence and elegance, beauty and grace, style and glamour. Ann had a way of making friends wherever she went, and maintained friendships that began during her University days. She cherished the network of friends she had in Halifax, especially, who have been a part of her life in Canada from the beginning. She was particularly proud of and delighted by the special bond that united her two children.
Ann’s children would like to extend their thanks and appreciation to Sarah, our mother’s nurse at Gynecology-Oncology, Dr. Grant and Claire at Palliative Care and Drs. Chisolm and Miller and Nicole from the MAiD Program.
At Ann’s request, there will be no funeral and her remains have been cremated. A Celebration of Life will be held later in the summer. In lieu of flowers, Ann asked that donations be made to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.