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Front Page » August 30, 2011 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 1,208 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

The community lost a great treasure the other day. Helen Oliveto Smith was a shining example of what has made Price such a fine community to live in.

I am not going to write an obituary of this fine women. There are people who know her much better than I do that could do a much better job than I could ever think of doing. I just want to relay how she touched my life.

I worked with many different non-profit agencies during my years. All had to do fundraising and many times I had to go out and solicit donations for various events.

The very first time I went in and introduced myself to Helen at Olivetos Fine gifts, she welcomed me with open arms. She listened to what my cause was and gave from the heart.

When I became the director of the Family Support Center she immediately called me and invited me to speak to every organization she was a part of. Believe me, that was a lot of speaking to do. She had her hand in everything.

I never knew her to turn down any organization that needed help. Even when it was a struggle to keep the business profitable, she would always give.

She invited me to join Soroptimist and I did, even though it was a bit reluctantly. It ended up being a decision I have never regretted.

Most of the women that joined our group that means "best for women" were ask about joining after talking to Helen. She was a founding member of the Price Club back in 1956. It was rare she ever missed a meeting.

During the years she has weathered many tragedies with her family, but I can never remember a time when she didn't greet me with a smile and a "Hello my friend! What are you up to?"

I got into a habit of going downtown just for a reason to stop in and see her. I definitely shopped in all of our downtown stores more often because of her than I might have.

Going into her shop was like browsing a magical place where I always found so many things I wanted, but didn't need. That continues on with Joan Felice. It is still the place I go when I need that special gift for a wedding or Christmas. I know I will leave with a beautifully wrapped gift that will be unique and special.

One day I went in and she could not remember where her cordless phone was. We spent two hours searching and calling the phone trying to track it down. We never found it that afternoon, but we laughed the entire time we were looking.

I am saddened by the loss, but honored to be counted among her list of friends.

We have many business people here in our community that are also giving and involved. With her fading health and advanced age, Helen may not have been able to be as directly involved in these past few years, but her influence and presence will remain felt for decades to come.

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