Colleen Nelle (Adkins) Smith passed away Wednesday, December 11, 2013, in Olympia, Wash. She was 79 years old. Colleen was born on April 18, 1934, in Tacoma, Wash., to Ray and Kathleen (Jordan) Adkins. Following an unexpected death of her mother in March, 1935, Colleen was raised by Dallas and Emma Wise of Hoquiam. Interestingly, Emma Jordan Wise and Kathleen Jordan Adkins were sisters married to half brothers, Ray Adkins and Dallas Wise.
Colleen graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1952. She married her childhood sweetheart, R.E. Gene Smith on July 5, 1952. They moved to San Francisco, Calif., and had their first child, Kim, there. Soon after, they moved back to Grays Harbor where they made their home for the rest of their lives. They had two more children, Craig and Jill.
Colleen had a life-long fascination with the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the city of San Francisco. As a small girl, a family friend boarded with the Wises and entertained the children with stories of his survival of that actual event with the added bonus that Colleen was born on the anniversary of the disaster. She loved the fact that her beloved San Francisco was rebuilt from lumber shipped from Grays Harbor. Her love of history and all things antique led her to a career in retail, including her own antique shop, The Collection, and later, Colleen Smith Estate Sales. Previously, she worked for O’Connors and Carole’s Young Things during the 60’s & early 70’s.
Colleen is survived by her children, Kim (Mike) Poulos of Aberdeen, Craig (Diane) Smith of Aberdeen and Jill (Darell) Bellis of Elma. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Nicole (Bellis) Olsen of Elma, Matthew Smith of Aberdeen, and Callie (Poulos) Reynvaan of Peoria, Ariz. She has one great grandchild, Spencer Olsen; and one surviving brother, Gilbert (Bud) Wise of Tacoma. She was preceded in death by her husband, (R.E.) Gene Smith; her parents; and three brothers, Rex Adkins, Blair Adkins and Kenneth Wise.
A celebration of life will be held at Polson Museum in Hoquiam on February 15, 2014. The family suggest memorials be made to the Railroad Camp exhibit at the Polson Museum, 1611 Riverside Avenue, Hoquiam, WA 98550. Colleen and Gene were residents, with their three young children of Railroad Camp during the early years of their marriage. A card of condolence with a message or a memory may be sent to the family at www.colemanmorturary.net. Arrangements were entrusted to Coleman Mortuary of Hoquiam.