Mary Dutton Waldron Smith (1917-2013)
Mrs. Mary Dutton Waldron Smith, wife of Dr. Milton Benjamin Smith of Murphys, passed peacefully into eternity on Friday, February 22nd, in her home in Murphys and in the presence of family members who loved and cared for her over the last years of her life.
Born in Newton, MA on May 7, 1917, the second daughter of Chauncey and Millie (Rogers) Waldron. After the birth of her brother Chan in 1918, her mother Millie died from the flu (epidemic). The following year her father married Ruth Alden and together they raised Ruthie, Mary and Chan and had two other children, Ted and Paul. The family eventually built a summer home in Maine where they spent many adventurous summers and she continued to return to Maine with family and friends from California and beyond.
Mary graduated from Mt.Holyoke College in 1938, after spending that summer in Japan and China (with a missionary family) during the Japanese invasion of China. She was president of her graduating class. After attending graduate school in microbiology she married a young doctor named Milton on June 7, 1941.They had met on a ski trip the year before while she was working at Columbia University medical school. They moved to San Francisco after their honeymoon in Maine. She then became a war bride, as Dr. Ben was a surgeon in the European conflict, and after the war they returned to San Francisco to finish residency at UCSF. In 1947 they moved to Fairfield, established a medical practice, and settled down to raise 4 children.
Mary Dutton worked alongside her husband as a laboratory technologist, applying her chemistry background in cell cytology, while becoming involved in her community, church, and children’s activities. She was a den mother, athletic coach, hospital auxiliary organizer, mayor's wife and AFS exchange student mother for Mehmet Artun from Ankara, Turkey.
In 1963 the family moved to Murphys, built a medical office on Main Street, and quickly became involved in community life. Dutton continued to promote AFS in Calaveras county and she hosted many events and gatherings for students at their home above Murphys. In 1968 Dutton became the mother of Marianne (Andy's Swedish sister through AFS) and she cared for Ben's father, Grandpa Smith, who lived with them in the house on the hill. It was a busy place and everyone was welcome.
Fondly nicknamed the “matriarch of Murphys tennis”, Mary Dutton was an avid outdoor woman, loved to ski and hike in the mountains, but also was very civic minded. She helped start the Calaveras Chapter of AAUW, and the Murphys Octoberfest, the Calaveras Chapter of AFS Exchange Program, the Calaveras Big Trees Association. In 1996 she was recognized by Angels-Murphys Rotary with their Senior Community Service award. She and Ben were very involved with the First Congregational Church in Murphys and together they conducted the Geology of the Mother Lode class through Columbia Jr. College. Many local people enjoyed the class and the geology field trips that Dutton and Ben organized. They continued to travel and hike into the Sierras and to other countries as long as they were able, keeping their connections with friends throughout the world.
When Dr. Ben became disabled with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005, she became a caregiver, and also a writer of stories about their very interesting life together, while continuing to travel and ski and play tennis into her 80's. In 2001 she became a widow and lived out the rest of her life peacefully in their home in Murphys, surrounded and cared for by family and friends. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, April 6, at 1:00 in Murphys at the Native Sons Hall. Details will be announced soon for friends and family.
Mary Dutton was preceded in death by their son David on June 3rd 1946 and Ben, her husband of 60 years in 2001. She is survived by four grown children: Dana (Mary Frederick) of Albany, CA, and their daughters Chloe, and Emma (Omar) Montelongo; Andrew (Janis) of Stockton, CA, and their sons David and Brian (Andrea); Lawrence (Carla) of Murphys, CA, and their son Jason (Colleen), daughter Jessica (Tim) Weidmann, and daughter Sirinan (Gabriel) Guzman; and Elizabeth (Gerald) Kathan of Bend, OR, and their daughters Molly(Clement) Shields, and Marcy. Mary Dutton had a total of 12 great grandchildren. Her memory will inspire us to live life to its fullest.