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Mary Surplice Smith, 88

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Mary Surplice Smith, age 88, died Feb. 23, at the Lutheran Home in River Falls, Wis.

Mary Theresa Surplice was born June 28, 1925, in Scranton, Pa., the daughter of Mary (Lane) and Abram Surplice. She graduated from Hawley High School in 1943, and was recruited to work in Washington, D.C., as a "government girl" during the war effort.

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Needing more money to send to her widowed mother, Mary entered stenotype school after seeing a placard on a bus in Washington, and she worked as a freelance stenographer/court reporter for decades. She became one of the best in Washington, recording depositions and hearings for various congressional committees on Capitol Hill, as well as meetings of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, among many others. For her most famous case, she was flown to California to take the testimony of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

In 1955, Mary married Stanley R. Smith, and they moved to Arlington and then McLean, Va., (outside of Washington, D.C.), where they lived until Stanley's death on Feb. 22, 2010. They did not have children but were good friends to the Riley and Greer families of Virginia; to Stanley's relations, the Mattisons; and to many neighbors and their fellow parishioners at St. John the Beloved. These friends and family returned the favor, helping the Smiths especially in their later years.

Mary was an outgoing person who lived life to the fullest and on her own terms. She made friends easily, and she loved parties, eating out, attending live theater and music, and playing the piano. She and Stanley traveled extensively in Europe.

After Stanley died, Mary lived intermittently with her nieces Mary Wootton (of Provo, Utah) and Rosalie Walker (of River Falls). In 2012, Mary moved to River Falls permanently to be near Rosalie, John, Nathan, and Martin Walker.

Mary continued to make new friends and enjoyed eating out at the restaurants in River Falls and Hudson. She particularly loved the live musical performances by local artists. Mary was an engaging and kind person to many people.

Mary was preceded in death by her best friend and husband Stanley; sisters Helen (Edward) Gilpin, and Francis Surplice; brothers Harold Surplice, and Edwin Surplice; and nephews Joseph Gilpin, and Michael Surplice.

She is survived by good friend Richard Frey (River Falls, Wis.); nieces Mary and Brent Wootton (Provo, Utah), Rosalie and John Walker (River Falls, Wis.,) Mary and Bill Thek (Kemmerer, Wyo.) Theresa Ehwald (Scranton, Pa.) and Lisa and Donald Johnson (Hawley, Pa.); nephew James and Sara Surplice (Hawley, Pa.); former sister-in-law, June Yuskiewicz (Hawley, Pa.); great-nephews Nathan Walker (St. Paul, Minn.), and Martin Walker (Minneapolis, Minn.); and Stanley's remaining family.

A service will be held at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Va., at a later date, with burial in Falls Church, Va.

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