Carmen Josephine Ellis Smith, 97, passed away at 11:40 AM on February 23, 2021, in Rochester, Indiana. She was born February 22, 1924, at her Ellis grandparents’ family farm in Fulton County, Indiana, to Clair and Ruby (Black) Ellis. Carmen graduated from Akron High School in 1942 and continued her education at Manchester College and Butler University, where she completed her BS degree in 1946. Working for Dr. Dick and Dr. Dean Stinson in Rochester, Carmen met Glen Smith of Macy, and they married in 1954. Together, Carmen and Glen raised three children, Steve, Nancy and Dean, and celebrated 48 years together before Glen’s death in 2002.
Active in homemaking and the family farm throughout her long life, Carmen was beloved by her family and close friends. As an only child on her father’s farm, Carmen was a quick study who embraced learning at all levels. Excellent in her school work, Carmen also learned farm skills as apprentice to her father, Clair, taking care of livestock and helping with the seasonal crop work. From her mother Ruby, Carmen learned the basics of housekeeping along with an appreciation for art and music. Throughout her life, Carmen excelled at gardening from tomatoes and asparagus to roses and daylilies. She used her growing skills well and generously shared with others. Carmen was also an avid reader, a skilled seamstress, and music lover. In all seasons, Carmen’s children recall at-home adventures that featured pets, books, and practical projects. With Glen, Carmen traveled throughout the continental United States and especially enjoyed trips to visit friends and relatives near and far. Carmen continued to travel after Glen’s death, driving herself throughout Indiana until she chose to quit driving at 92. Carmen served as family hostess for decades. From birthday parties and holiday meals to her parents’ 70th wedding anniversary reception, Carmen diligently brought loved ones together.
Carmen lived the last years of her life in Rochester, in her own home and later at Wynnfield Crossing. She was member of Eastern Star through much of her life. After moving to town, Carmen enjoyed being part of the Notables music group. Carmen said she couldn’t sing, but she could read music and her skill with some basic choreography was fun for her.
Carmen is survived by her children: Steve (Laurel) Smith of Vincennes, Nancy Smith of Rochester, and Dean Smith of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and by her granddaughters, Glenda Smith and Alicia (Stephen) Chappo.
A graveside service celebrating Carmen's life and sharing memories will be held at 1:00 PM EST on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at the Athens-Hoover Cemetery. Chaplain Todd Wilson will officiate. We are grateful to the community at Wynnfield Crossing for their support of our mother during her residence there and to Kindred Hospice personnel for care during Carmen’s final days.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Fulton County Animal Center and Shelter, 1540 Wentzel St., Rochester, IN 46975 or to the Fulton County Public Library, 320 West 7th St., Rochester, IN 46975.