Mrs. Anna June Smith (nee Tatalovic) died the morning of Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at the age of 103.
She passed away in her home, as she desired, with her grandson, Mr. Thaddeus K. Smith, and his wife, Dr. Marie Matthews, at her side. Professionals from the Crawford County Hospice Service were also present during the final weeks and days of her life, as were her caretakers, Beatrice Eddy, Theresa Hollis, Kim Wygant, Gwen Shank and Patti Spaite. Anna’s surviving family members will always be grateful for the compassion and kindness provided by her devoted caretakers and Crawford County Hospice. Together, they ensured she died with the dignity and comfort she deserved.
Anna was born on June 22, 1917, the youngest of five children, to parents Mr. Samuel and Mrs. Smylia Tatalovic, who emigrated from Serbia in the early years of the last century. She spoke of her parents often until her death, and was taught to bake and cook by her mother, Smylia, using a wood-fired stove. Anna was especially renowned for her baking skills, which would have shamed any professionally-trained chef. Her beloved sister Lois’ daughter, Mrs. Stacia Bucnis (nee Von Alt), was always presented with at least one coconut cream pie during her family’s faithful visits to the Smith family farm. Unfortunately, Anna passed away without successfully teaching anyone the secret to producing a perfect 6-inch meringue in a 1960s era electric oven.
In addition to her expertise as a homemaker, Anna was a highly-skilled and experienced farmer. She spent her childhood, alongside her siblings, assisting with the operation of the Tatalovic family farm. As a young woman, she and her brother, Mr. Ralph Tatalovic, often delivered eggs and produce in their family’s horse-drawn wagon to sell at what is currently known as the Meadville Market House. She was introduced, by her brother Ralph, to another young local farmer, Mr. Kenneth Kress Smith, and they married in December of 1938.
Anna and Kenneth soon began operating a small family dairy farm, located just a few miles from the Tatalovic family’s home, on Lyona Road. They also managed grain and corn production on their property, maintained extensive vegetable gardens and orchards, raised bees and a variety of other livestock. Anna and Kenneth had a son, Dr. Dennis K. Smith, who grew up sharing his parent’s devotion to the family’s farming enterprise. Anna always played a primary role in the operation of the Smith family farm, was a savvy entrepreneur and bailed hay for her cows and livestock well into the fifth decade on her life.
Following the death of her husband in 1978, Anna remained a single widow, and slowly retired from full-time farming. However, she was active well until the later years of her life, and continued quilting, crocheting, gardening and mowing her substantial lawn for many decades. Anna treasured the time she spent with each of her adored sisters, Mildred, Suzanne and Lois. The four sisters were a charming and formidable group of women, and they were known to host exceptional parties when they were together. Her late husband’s twin brother, Mr. Paul Smith, his wife, Dorothy, and their daughter, Marilyn, were also a constant presence in Anna’s life, and spent a great deal of time with her grandchildren. There is ample photographic evidence documenting Paul and Dorothy’s presence at many of the previously mentioned parties.
Finally, Anna was an avid reader until her death, quietly encouraged her son and grandchildren to adopt the same habit and spoke both English and Serbian fluently. She believed adamantly in the value of education and was the first person in her immediate family to receive a high school diploma. Anna graduated at the height of the Great Depression, and her sisters combined their resources to ensure she had the clothing and accessories suitable for a young woman of that time, to celebrate her achievement with style. Anna delivered the valedictorian speech to her class at Townville High School in the yellow organza dress her sisters provided her, and that dress was among her personal possessions at the time of her death. Her son, Dennis, read Anna’s valedictorian speech to his graduating class at Townville High School approximately 20 years after her commencement.
Until her declining health prevented it, she was active in the Guys Mills community, and supported Lyona Bible Church, the local church she attended with her family since she was an infant.
Anna was predeceased by her parents, husband, brother Ralph Tatalovic, and sisters Mildred Lambert, Suzanne Demmer, and Lois Von Alt, and their respective spouses. She is survived by her son, Dennis K. Smith, his wife, Ellen Hartley-Smith, granddaughter Tazuer A. Smith, her husband Greg Emerick, grandson Thaddeus K. Smith, his wife, Marie Matthews, and her great-granddaughter, Mazzy Anna Smith.
Other survivors include numerous nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews, many of whom were instrumental in caring for Anna in the final years of her life.
Family and friends are welcome to call on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Ryan M. Warren Funeral Home, 33353 N. Main Street, Townville.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the funeral service will be conducted privately. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Crawford County, Pa., 766 Liberty Street, Meadville, Pa., 16336. Funeral arrangements are in the care of the Ryan M. Warren Funeral Home, located in Townville, Pa. Please take a moment to share a memory or condolence on Anna’s Book of Memories online at WarrenFH.com.
Bozje pamosa, Anna.