M. Janette Smith, 97, of Boulder City, NV, died Tuesday, August 27, 2019, at home. She was born June 6, 1922, in Sandpoint, ID, the second child of the late J. Paul and Bertha Haag.
Janette grew up in Sandpoint but spent much of her time north of town on her paternal grandparents’ ranch, where bundles of magazines tossed off the passing train by porters showed her a world far beyond northern Idaho. In 1937, she won first place at the National 4-H Club Congress for a wool suit she made, and the next year Sears Roebuck sponsored her to attend the congress in Chicago.
After graduating Sandpoint High School in 1940, she attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, switching her major from home economics to chemistry and graduating in August 1943 with a B.S. degree. She was quickly recruited as a research chemist by General Aniline and Film Corporation (GAF) in Easton, PA, where she worked in textile-related research and was part of a team that developed the popular 1950s dish detergent “Glim.”
She married Harry L. Smith, a Purdue classmate, at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, MD, on July 2, 1944. When his naval unit was shipped to the Aleutian Islands, she moved to southern California, where she worked as a chemist for California Hand Prints (Manhattan Beach), for Shell Chemicals (Wilmington), and later for Crown Zellerbach in Camas, WA. When Harry was released from military service at the end of 1945, they moved to Boston, where she worked in research labs at M.I.T. until 1950.
Janette and Harry and their two young daughters moved to Las Vegas in 1953 and to Boulder City in 1964. Janette became very active in the American Association of University Women (AAUW), serving in many capacities in both the Las Vegas and Boulder City branches as well as at the state and national levels and earning an honorary lifetime membership. In 1970, as both daughters headed off to college, Janette returned to work as the lead chemist for the Clark County Air Pollution Control District, where she remained until her retirement in 1988. A lifelong learner, she returned to school, earning a B. A. in art history at UNLV in 1993.
In addition to her service in AAUW, Janette also served on the board of the Boulder City Hospital, volunteered at the Boulder City High School library, was active in the Rotary Club of Boulder City, was a 75-year member of the American Chemical Society, and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi.
Janette is survived by daughters Holly Gallup and Alison Smith and by seven nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Harry, two sisters, and a brother.
A private family service will be held. Memorials can be made to the AAUW Fellowships Fund (www.aauw.org and click Donate) or to one of the educational programs of the American Chemical Society (www.acs.org/donate). Family and friends can sign an online memorial guestbook at www.bouldercityfamilymortuary.com
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