Our loving mother, grandmother, and friend, Jane Smith passed away on Sunday, December 20, 2020 after a battle with Coronavirus and Alzheimer's disease.
Mary Jane Holmstrom was born on May 4, 1934 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Albin Bernhard Holmström and Emma Teckla Valentina Bergquist Holmström. She was born at home to a very humble family, her father a cobbler, her mother a seamstress and a laundress. Jane, as she was known throughout her life, was a first generation American, both of her parents hailed from Sweden. Jane was always proud of her Swedish heritage.
Jane graduated from South High School in Salt Lake City in 1952. That same year, on August 29, 1952, she married her high school sweetheart, Lester John Nielsen Jr., (Jack, deceased in 2015). Jack and Jane had one son together, Kirk Bryant Nielson (born February 9, 1957, deceased in 2001). Jack and Jane, later divorced after over 15 years of marriage. On May 4, 1968, Jane married Dr. Homer Edwards Smith. Jane and Homer were married for over 35 years, until Homer's death in 2003. Jane and Homer had one son, Ashton Homer Smith (born December 27, 1970).
Jane loved life and was busy, active, and independent. Jane always worked hard. While still attending high school, Jane worked at Dunford Bakery in Salt Lake City. While her husband Jack was serving in the Korean war, Jane worked for two trucking companies. Later, she worked as an office manager for an Ophthalmologist. This is where she met her future husband, Dr. Homer Edwards Smith. She took pride in her career and accomplishments.
She played tennis in the Salt Lake area for many years, playing both singles and doubles regularly and was even nationally ranked for women's doubles in the 1980s. Tennis umpiring was her longest career, becoming the first female national tennis umpire from Utah, doing all major US tennis tournaments for more than 35 years (US Open, Indian Wells, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and many others). She umpired for some of the most famous players, and her favorite tournament was the US Open in New York City (which she umpired at for more than 30 years). She was a seasoned traveler, very comfortable in big cities and big airports, and she always drove in her own car to tournaments in the western US by herself. Driving to California, Nevada, Arizona, and even Washington state many times a year to work at professional level tennis tournaments as an umpire. She always traveled alone and loved her independence, even well into her 80s. In fact, she only retired from umpiring recently, in 2018 at the age of 84.
For leisure, she spent 40+ years making needlepoint artwork for Christmas stockings, framed art pieces, Christmas ornaments, and decorative pieces for every holiday. Indeed, there were literally hundreds and hundreds of pieces completed over the years, most given as gifts to others. She was also actively involved in several different bowling leagues from the early 1970s until 2020, most recently a medical bowling league and a local bowling league in Salt Lake City. Needlepoint groups and bowling leagues gave her a wide group of friends, purpose, and happiness. Jane also hosted many seasonal holiday parties over the years for her friends, everything was always very well planned and fun. She loved to entertain, especially at Christmas time. She lived her whole life in Salt Lake City and was so proud to travel the world and tell people where she was from. She loved Utah, and particularly, loved Salt Lake City.
Jane had a great love for music and singing and spent decades singing in the Jay Welch Chorale and Sterling Polson's Choral Arts Society of Utah, both located in Salt Lake City. Jane was deeply involved in fundraising for these choral organizations and loved singing in the many large performances they had for Days of '47 festivities and the Christmas Holiday Pops Concerts.
After the passing of her husband (Homer), and 1st son (Kirk), Jane had close relationships with friends and neighbors. Thank you to all of you for the kindness and consideration you have shown her for so many years.
Jane's greatest pride and fullest joy was her family. Whatever the venue, Jane would share pictures and stories of her family. She was proud of her sons and their hard work and the accomplishments of her grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by: her husband, Dr. Homer Edwards Smith (2003), her son, Kirk Bryant Nielson (2001), her father, Albin Bernhard Holmström (1946), her mother, Emma Teckla Valentina Bergquist Holmström (1975), her full siblings, Siri Rose Holmstrom (2012), Grace Ida Holmstrom (1999), Fred Edward Holmstrom (2008), Ruth Emma Holmstrom (1978), Jack Bernard Holmstrom (2015), her half-siblings, Everett Albin Edward (Jack) Holmstrom (1999), Karl Leonard Holmstrom (1986), Yordis Ida Maria Holmstrom (2008), Theodore Arvid Holmstrom (2009), Genevieve Fredrika Holmstrom (1919), Gulli Ingeborg Jönsson (1915), Nils Gunnar Jonsson (1986), Gustave Carl Johnson (1969), John Egon Johnson (1985), and step-siblings, Caroline Marie Child, June Helena Child (1931), Norma D. Child (2015), Joseph Child, Jr. (1934), Joleen May Child (1992), and Janet Child.
Jane is survived by: her son, Ashton Homer Smith (Kristen Rasmussen Smith), and their children (Jane's grandchildren), Jacob Homer Smith, Joshua Ashton Smith, and Annikah Emma Smith. She is also survived by her husband Homer's children: Homer Smith (Patti), Redd Smith (Janet), and Freya Fletcher (Bob, 2019), as well as the grandchildren of her husband. Much love and kindness has been given over the years by these family members to Jane.
Mostly recently, Jane suffered from rapid onset Alzheimer's disease. Since April of 2020, she has lived in a specialized memory care facility, the staff of which, have enjoyed her stories of tennis umpiring and bragging about her two sons and three grandchildren. Thank you to the staff of Beehive Homes for the great care you have given to Jane in her last few months.
Due to the pandemic, a viewing and funeral will not be held in her honor. Instead, a private graveside service and burial will be held. In lieu of flowers, Jane would wish that all money to instead be given to FRAXA, a national organization that raises money for Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that impacts two of her three grandchildren. Jane spent many years educating people and making donations to help cure and educate others about Fragile X syndrome on behalf of all those who suffer from the impacts of this disorder.
Jane will be buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, next to her husband, best friend, and partner, Dr. Homer Edwards Smith.