Kathleen Alden Smick Memorial Thoughts

Kathleen February 2007      Kathleen RenFaire Garb 2004       Kathleen eagle 2004     more photos....

Kathleen Alden Smick died on October 17, 2007, after battling inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) for three brave years.  This page is a place for thoughts from her many friends and fans.    To add your own thoughts to this page, please email them to kathleen@spiritmtnart.com, with the word "memorial" in the title.   For other stories about her life,  see Stories, and of course her jewelry art.

Kathleen's Words and Wishes

"Please give a copy of the following to my friends and family.

Thank you every one.  It was a great life and I'll see you on the other side.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

          -- author unkown.

May your road be interesting, all your hills go down and may the wind be at your back.  ~ KAS

Today is yesterday's tomorrow. -- KAS"

          ~ Kathleen Alden Smick, Oct. 11, 1998

Kathleen's Experience with Cancer and Lessons To Help Others

Kathleen repeatedly expressed the wish that other people benefit from her experience with cancer in general, and inflammatory breast cancer in particular.  To honor her wish, her partner Kelley Harris is willing to discuss Kathleen's cancer story.  He's collecting parts of her story and information that may help others on his web page Cancer Notes.

Memorial Celebrations and Donations

At this time, a specific memorial celebration is not yet planned.  You are encouraged to celebrate her life through the way you lead your own life.  Kathleen would also welcome your efforts and donations channeled towards spreading the word about breast cancer and helping people get through it. (Examples: http://www.bcrcsb.org/home.html

To help carry on Kathleen's jewelry art spirit, we set up a scholarship/workshop fund to aid students of the Jewelry Arts program at the Santa Barbara City College Adult Education.  If you wish to support this fund, your donations would be welcomed by Janice Lorber, Jewelry Arts Coordinator, 22 Saint Ann Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93109.  The working name is "Kathleen Smick Memorial Jewelry Spirit Fund", for scholarships and special workshops.  Additional donations can be made to the Earth and Sky Circle Foundation. (heyoka-art.com).  Plus any cause supporting cats, hawks, owls, and open space.

Thoughts by Friends and Fans

"Kathleen shared her life and playful creative spirit with me for eleven and half wonderful years.  While I can't help but want more time with her, I feel thankful for the time I had.   I will spend the rest of my life both missing and appreciating her.  While I truly want to believe that her spirit has moved on to do other work, and that I may even join her again someday, I don't claim to know how this vast and mysterious universe really works.  But I do know that we can all take the lessons and inspiration she offered us, pass them on to others, and thereby her spirit will live on here and now."  -- M. Kelley Harris, life partner, fiance, and adoring fan.  Santa Barbara, California, 10/18/07

"It is with very heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Kathy.  She brought such great happiness and joy to our dear son, Kelley.  We loved her independent spirit and the powerful warrior woman we saw in her.  The wonderful and artful jewelry, into which she poured her soul, showed her unique spirit and strength.  We will hold her tenderly in our hearts.  She was always so loving and thoughtful towards us.  When we look up at the night skies, we will see her in the heavenly sparkling star dust.  We love you greatly our very dearest Kathy." -- Ron & Marlies Harris, father and mother of Kelley, Colorado, 10/18/07

"Kathy has been my closest friend and inspiration for the past 47 years.  I was in first grade and she was in second grade when we first met.  I learned a great many lessons from my “sister”.  Perhaps the most important was that imagination can be brought to life in action, art and word and that a brave and loving spirit can accomplish any dream.  I know Kathleen’s spirit will remain with me and until I see her again whenever I see anything of beauty I will think of her."  -- Peggy Frye, friend and sister in spirit, Washington, 10/19/07

"My Medicine sister Kathleen was a dear, gifted, helpful, friend and apprentice.  I miss her greatly as she joins with Snow Deer who went before her last year.  Both were helpful in creating the Earth and Sky Circle and the memorial trees that we started planting will now honer them both.  The sacred space will be called, Kathleen & Snow Deer Grove.

The rain is singing in harmony
      With the sad song playing my harp

Another dear sweet friend has left
      To journey into the spirit world

Like a falling star her light shown bright
      Her glow lingers in all of us

Leaving behind gifts of art and beauty
      Through her students she lives on

Between us death cannot break the bond
      Our friendship is too strong to die

We can sense she is still close by
      Her presence is a helper in our hearts

Kathleen, enjoy your new place to create
      As you become one the stars above
Good Medicine, Heyoka

     -- Heyoka Merrifield, Stevensville, Montana, heyoka-art.com", 10/19/07

"Kathy will be truly missed by all of us at the Wake Center Jewelry classes.  Kathy was loved by everyone and we will always remember her for her gentleness, patience, and jewelry making talent.  She was an inspiration to all of us."  -- Dennis & Angela Maloy, Santa Barbara, California, 10/19/07

"Dearest Kathleen,

You fought valiantly and displayed unrivalled courage by your demeanor, your continued smile, and your unrelenting concern for those around you.  I can say with all my heart that nobody on this earth could have matched your fellow traveler Kelley for his dedication, determination, brilliance of research and insight, and love.

Here I sit, crying. Few people on this planet can evoke that emotion. I will miss you always.

Take care, gentle spirit.

With love,

      -- Clive Munro, Florida, 10/20/07

"Ohhhh, Kathy, where to begin? You are my sister, my dear sweet friend, confidant, my ski instructor partner, my roommate, my photo traveling buddy. My Renaissance partner. You will always be such a big part of my life. We grew up in neighboring towns and even went to the same college in jewelry making but didn't meet until our days in Colorado. Then when I had to move to Santa Barbara, you moved too. We were so close and this hurts so much. My sweet Kathy I love you. I've saved so many of your cards and have so many of your pictures to look at and just admire you. You give me strength. The adventures you have taken and some of the stories you have told me have always awe struck me. Like your bicycling through Europe by yourself. Wow, girl, that was incredible. Your thighs were like rocks. Remember? hahaha. You are my spirit warrior, Kathleen. I know you're my angel now and please come to me when I need you because I'm going to be needing you a lot.
_Your dearest friend, Debbie"  -- Deborah Welsh, Sausalito, California, 10/20/07

"Kathy was:
Vulnerable without being weak.
Strong without being overbearing.
Courageous without being reckless.
An old soul filled with the wisdom of many lifetimes.

I admired her:
Sense of humor,
Wisdom and
Artist¹s eye

She approached her art with a meticulous perfection that made sure each atom
of metal or stone was placed just so. Kathy was one the most gifted artists
I have ever known.

Once, in the blackest of times in my life, even when facing her own
hardship, she found time to lend an empathetic ear, which helped to pull me
back from the edge.

Some people believe in families of kindred spirits. If there are families of
kindred spirits, I would like to believe she and I are of the same clan.


I will miss you.

Your friend,
Micheal Towers", Santa Barbara, California,  10/20/07

"What a tremendous blow to hear of this magnificent person's departure  from us too soon...such a
wonderful friend to so many. Kathy taught me  almost everything I know about drafting while we
worked together at  DAC in Carpinteria, CA in the early 1990s. We worked alongside each other and
became great friends. She was a whiz at drafting and could  design parts and/or turn out drawings
faster than anyone else in the  company. When there was real work to be done, Kathy was the 
first-string pick of our engineers. No one else came close. As Kathy  and I got to know each other
better, our friendship grew. We shared  many lunch breaks  together in the restaurants of
Carpinteria and had  wonderful times.

Whether enjoying photography, fencing, or jewelry making, Kathy always  stayed young at heart. She
loved having fun and constantly explored  new interests. In the mid-1990s, a vintage, tall masted
ship visited  Santa Barbara, and Kathy--with her then-new passion for  fencing--signed on as one
of the "pirate" actors for a local event,  swinging from the ratlines and putting on quite a show
with her sword.  That was typical Kathy. Not too long after--again in typical Kathy  fashion--she
changed job tracks, devoting herself to her jewelry  making and long-term love of photography. A
look at her website proves  that she went after her new passion with the same exuberance and focus
  with which she tackled engineering. Everything was done to perfection,  and her soul still shows
in her gorgeous work.

When I moved to Digital Instruments and met Michael (Kelley) Harris, I  knew they were an ideal
match and soon introduced them to each other.  After all, who could be a better partner for a
great person  than...well, another great person? Kathy and Kelley were truly meant  for each
other, and it gave me tremendous joy to see them fall in love  and share their lives together. As
very sad as Kathy's loss makes me  now, I am also comforted that Kathy had these wonderful years
with Kelley. She could never have shared her life with a better man.

I will continue to miss Kathy, and only wish that I had spent more  time with her. It truly
grieves me to hear of her passing. How to  leave a monument worthy of her? I believe the best way
is to also live  as she did: fearless, free, and full of life. She would want that for  all her

     -- Doug Bradley, Los Olivos, California,  10/20/07

"Wonderful, treasured woman.

Too young.

Gone, and we remain."

     -- Yona L. Munro, Florida, 10/21/07

Beautiful flower, sweet friend.
Lover of beauty and life.
Patient giver of time and knowledge.
Humble servant of nature, stone and metal.
Brilliant talent, brave goddess, trusted ear,
Goodness incarnate.
I love you and thank you for all that you have shared.
I will remember your essence and take heed of what I have learned from you.
I will listen for your guidance, and rejoice in my good fortune to call you friend."  -- Maile, Santa Barbara, California, 10/21/07

"My last memory of Kathy was of talking to her on the phone about what kind of cat litter she uses. Kathy reminds me of my cat, and of my favorite book, Alphabet of Thorn. Kathy gave me this book a couple years ago along with a box full of post cards with fairies on them.  Whenever I use one of these post cards, or notice Alphabet of Thorn on my bookshelf, I think of Kathy and I remember how much she loved and how caring she was. I remember the time all of you came here and skiied with us. That was a lot of fun for me, and I remember how Kathy had so much spirit and was so lively. I believe she is still here in spirit, and she will always be. I just want you to know how much we love and miss her and that we all love you and hope that she will be remembered forever and loved forever."
     -- Camille Wasinger, Boulder, Colorado, 14 yrs old, 10/21/07

"Kathleen and I didn't see each other often but I felt very close to her.
Maybe it was her unassuming manner that allowed me the delightful feeling of tight bond.
Maybe it was our innate sacred sisterhood.
Maybe it was our mutual passion for earths' treasures.
Our journey included 40th birthday's, a slumber party with poetry, toe-nail painting and karaoke, a little business, a radiation treatment, tea at the Casbah showing our finds from days in Tucson, the great food of Govinda's, Mary's Christmas craft fairs, the renaissance fair, a healing session with a Hopi medicine man, a few visits to her studio, she a few visits to mine, and Tucson, always the Gem and Mineral show in Tucson. We had a knack for running into each other within hours of arriving in Tucson with a million other people. It happened so often that I started to rely on it. Wandering excitedly amongst a sea of people and mountains of stones and there she'd be, magically in my path.  I loved our show and tells in Tucson; I loved seeing the stones she picked, and hearing her vision for them, she could open a new window of perspective for me and I enjoyed the view immensely.
 A few weeks ago she was so persistently on my mind that I called her with pretense that I needed a name and phone number. Funny, I felt I needed a pretense, I felt shy about intruding or prying. Kelley told me that she felt that her condition made me uncomfortable. And maybe it did, I have watched 4 other friends transition in the last 2 years, maybe I didn't want to believe or face that she was going to be one of them. Maybe if I didn't see her slowly slipping step by step into the otherworld I could pretend it wasn't happening.
But I needed to connect with her. I left a message, she returned my call and left me a message, and that was our last communication. Listening to her voice on my voicemail relaying information that I really didn't need. What I needed was to hear her voice. To gauge from it if she needed my help in anyway. I got no hint that she would be gone in a week, nor that she was in need.  What I got was what I always got from her, helpfulness, willingness, appreciation......... I felt loved. 
well lived my friend...
Thank you for gracing this planet with your light and love.
I am so very grateful..........
and there is sorrow......
A sufi prayer:
"May the road rise to greet you
and the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall gently on your fields
until we meet again
may the goddess hold you
in the hollow of her hand."

     -- Maile, Santa Barbara, California, 10/21/07

"We were so sorry to hear of Kathleen's passing. She will be very badly missed by both of us.  Kathleen's passing seemed so sudden to us as it seemed like just a while back the two of you were  cycling up Old San Marcos together. Know for sure that her journey continues and that only her body has been left behind. She has a bright soul that will continue to burn brightly and be carried by all who knew her!" -- John and Lorrie Richards, North Carolina, 10/21/07

"Last year, I was given the assignment to redesign the magazine “Lapidary Journal” as the magazine was undergoing a name change and a thorough over-haul to become “Jewelry Artist Magazine”.  As a graphic designer, I’m used to starting projects in subject areas that I know little about.  However, when I took my first look at Lapidary Journal, I knew I was in a foreign country.  In rode Kathy to the rescue.  She had shared her jewelry with me and I appreciated the singular vision she had and the meticulous craftsmanship which she lavished on all her pieces.  I had listened to wax passionate about her tools, and the ecstasy and inspiration she felt at finding that perfect gem or metal.   I also knew she was an avid reader of “Lapidary Journal”, and so, whether she wanted to or not, she became my muse.

I used images of her jewelry in the various comps and working pages for the magazine.  I imagined colors she would wear, and embellishments she would appreciate.  I even chose type faces based on time periods I knew intrigued and inspired her like the renaissance or moments of the art nouveau. I ran every idea, notion, concept through a “Kathy filter”, before putting it down on paper.  All the nuance and inflections had to be true to what would please her. I even lost sight of my actual client a few times, I was so sure that Kathy was ultimately the one who had to be pleased with the final product.  I wanted the magazine to still be “her magazine” even though it had a new name, new owners, and a totally new look.

In the end, I think she was pleased and still felt a complete kinship with the redesigned journal.  Luckily, it seems also to be a hit with others.  I was so fortunate to  be able to hold Kathy as the embodiment of the “Jewelry Artist”.  Imbuing the magazine with her talent, her vision, and her spirit seems to have been a recipe for its success.  But more importantly, it allows a piece of Kathy’s spirit to live on in this magazine, and whether anyone else knows it or not, she remains at the very heart of a touchstone for her artistic community.

Thanks Kathy for all your inspiration.

Your almost-sister-in-law, Susan"
     -- Susan Wasinger, Boulder, Colorado, 10/22/07

"I am so sad to have to say goodbye to such a creative, gentle, warm spirit as you Kathy. We are much the worse off for your leaving this physical
world. My prayer is that you now journey along the wolf road with our kindred spirit, Snowdeer. I pray our beloved medicine birds, the crows, guide your way and I pray it's a good journey.

Aho mitakuye oyasin

Julia Crystal Crow"

     -- Julia Crystal Crow, California, 10/22/07

"Although I only knew Kathy a little over a year, I was quickly touched by her thoughtfulness, intrinsic warmth, and simple openness of character. She was easy to be around... easy to talk to... easy to relax with... She made me feel good to be myself, probably because she was so comfortable and at home with herself.  "Never hesitate to ask me any questions about my breast cancer," she once told me; "I'm always happy to share with you."  Plus, who couldn't love the fact that a middle-aged woman signed her emails with a smiling cat face? >^^<  

Thank you, Kathy, for being a shining example of a strong and beautiful woman; thank you for sharing that wonderful dinner with Heyoka and me; thank you for passing on your harp, which will remind me of you whenever I play it; and most of all, thank you for leaving the world more beautiful than when you entered it, through your jewelry and spirit."

     ~ Kelly Morgen, fellow apprentice",  California, 10/22/07

"Very  sad and heartbreaking news ! She was a most excellent soul and she will be missed!  We had the arts in common.....we attended a gem show together one summer and that is truly where I learned how talented she was.. I had a great time listening to her talk to the vendors about the different stones and then she would turn to me and say "I will cut this  big piece of "blah" this way and that  and I will turn it into a dragon pendent" ....what an imagination!  I was also lucky enough to visit her jewelry studio on her home property. As soon as I walked into this tiny slice of heaven that was wall to wall with her treasured possessions.....I thought to myself that Kathleen was so lucky to be doing what she loved and to have such a peaceful space to do it in.  Kathleen was also so very lucky to have met her soul mate  Kelley.  My heart truly goes out to you Kelley - big hugs for you!

Much love, Alycia Towers",  Santa Barbara, California, 10/22/07

"... just a few weeks before.  Kathy seemed so bright and energized.  Though I've only been with her on two occassions, she made a strong impression on me as a woman of depth and integrety and wonderful artistic talent.  Her jewelry was so finely crafted and beautiful.  I regret that I didn't get to know her better and spend more time with the both of you.  She seemed  happy and fulfilled in her life with you and in her own little studio which she spoke about.  My heart-felt compassion goes out to you - I sense Kathy is fine wherever she is on her journey.  It's the people left behind that feel the weight of the empty space."
     -- Dale Figtree, Santa Barbara,  California, 10/22/07

"I've found comfort in all the stories and memories of Kathleen really enjoying life and loving to play.  Also in a couple of thoughts her friend Debbie sent to Kathleen:

     'Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.'


     'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
     It's about learning to dance in the rain!'

Kathleen definately danced in the rain she faced."

     -- M. Kelley Harris, life partner, fiance, and adoring fan.  Santa Barbara, California, 10/23/07

"Dear Kathy,
I remember the day we met; I was great with child and you came down the street in Harris Park. Remember? You came to meet the woman Julie (my step daughter) had described as the Wicked Stepmother. Oh we became fast friends and had many hours of conversation, laughter, tears, joy and sorrow.
Kathy, you are philosopher, teacher, student
You are magician, seeker, knower
camper, hiker, peacemaker
you are hero, woman, mystic
optimist, realist, dreamer
artist, friend, confidante
you are grace, independance, an enigma
you are spirit dancing in the stars
Oh I remember Lovato's woman, peyote stitiching, moonlight hot tubs. I remember long walks and heart talks. I remember your California Beach Birthday party in Harris Park. The snow was deep, and the wood stove was cooking so that we could wear our beach togas, swimsuits, and summer wear. Remember? I fired up the hot tub, and we all gathered to drink Orion's Belts--toasting to another year ahead.
I remember watching "The Greatest American Hero" and sitting on the deck watching the sun go down. I remember how you make every space come alive with Kathy--all your little nooks and crannies filled with Kathy stuff. Stones and feathers, gems and bones. Everything has a place.
My heart is filled with memories. Thank you

Aileen Grayce
Pine, Colorado

"She Dances With Faeries

I see her
Long of limb,
Her slender fingers adorned
With the beauty she created

I see her
Hair of spun gold
She reaches out
And the cup leaves the table
Attaching itself to her hand

I see her
Moonlight tresses
Grace her ethereal form
Orion’s belt carries her sword
And the Pleiades dangle from her ears

I see her
She dances with Faeries
In the Redwood forest
She soars with owls and eagles
Her laughter calls out the stars.

I see her
My sister, my friend,
She dances with Faeries

In love,

Aileen Grayce
Pine, Colorado

"Hi Kelley:

I'm not sure if you remember me -- I was a neighbor of Kathy's while she
lived on Prospect Street in Oak View, and am a buddy of Susan Kelejian's and
Terri Baker's.

I am so utterly sad to hear that she has moved on. Our little world on
Prospect Street has been the poorer for her absence, and I know that the big
world will be, now, as well.

I have a number of wonderful memories of Kathy:

I see her patient, quiet, loving strength with her mom, along with a
superbly wicked sense of humor as the two of them navigated her mother's
deteriorating health...

I see her when we gathered for the First Annual Prospect Street Art Stumble
-- our own ridiculous response to Ventura's Art Walk. We gathered, drank
champagne, and giggled at our own silliness...and then were struck silent in
awe when the real artist among us revealed her talents as a photographer and
jewelry maker...

And I see her, one December, several years ago, when a group gathered at her
house to celebrate the Blue Moon that had come that month. We shared
stories, and celebrations of the moon, and ended up on the bike path mooning
the moon!

And I remember talking with her when the two of you met -- she felt that she
had come home with you. I'm so sorry that your time together was short, but
am so glad that she found you.

All the very best,

Leigh Melander, Oak View, CA", 10/24/07

"Although I talked with Kathleen only a half dozen times, I won't forget her calm explanation of how she removed rattlesnakes from her yard occasionally to protect her curious cat. She used an extended-reach light-bulb remover to catch them, then boxed and trucked them to a place far away where they would pose no danger to people, pets, or themselves--from people or cars. I'll remember her as Kathleen, the Rattlesnake Whisperer.

Claude Macri", 10/24/07

"A beautiful friend indeed!

Though its been some time since I've seen Kathleen I never once saw a bird in flight that didn't remind me of her, thank you for the experiences we shared as we explored the energies of stones, the road trips we journied on together as we drove to Renaissance Fairs and sold our wares.  I always reflect upon these experiences and feel that in your presence you were always teaching me a deeper medicine experience.  I remember the owl we came across, its death was a beautiful spirit emblem, your energy like the owl lives by night and through the darkness a guide to another world in which I know you are present.  I will think of these moments as a gift of enlightenment as well as the empowerment of my being, I miss you!
~ElizaBeth Frey~ Avery", California, 10/24/07

"We were attending a workshop on enameling, and I watched Kathy work on her project with awe, as she carefully added layer upon layer of enamel to what she was making.  At the end of the day, she had a beautiful Eagle's wing.  Perfect in every way.  It was beautiful, and she told me she loved how beautiful feathers were.  And now, every time I think of Kathy, I know she is free, and flying with the eagles.  I will always remember you, Kathy, with love.   Pat McCloskey", 10/24/07

"Precious Kathy:

It is so very hard to say goodbye. You were like a daughter to us, and loved as if you were. We did not see you as often as we would have liked after You & Deb moved to S.B. and now you are gone , much too soon. We all know that your sweet spirit will live on for eternity.

We will always remember the fun times at the "O" ranch, Breck, & the many holidays you shared & spent with us. We will hold you in our hearts & treasure our memories of you always. Thank you for being there for me in Feb. 2005 when I heard the "heart stopping" news that you had a year earlier. You were truly a "light at the end of a tunnel". You touched our lives & we loved you
in return.

We write this with much sorrow & many tears. Dearest Kathy, you will be so MISSED.

Joe & Dee Buriegi
Littleton, Colorado

"It feels rare and precious to have an instantaneous rapport with someone and to develop an even greater bond when meeting, for what always seemed like such a short time, each year.  My partner, Phil and I met Kathleen at Catalina State Park outside of Tucson, AZ.  We were all camping there so we could shop at the "big" Tucson Gem and Jewelry show.  Off the bat we had a lot in common, the  park, the show, we were the only van campers and in record time we found out we loved to talk, laugh, eat the same foods, have show and tell, the beauty and magic of nature and the mystery of being.

I think she intuitively saw the best in all,  which brought out the best in all.  So that's how I think of Kathleen.  A rare and precious, beautiful and magical, talented and creative being.  The lights flickered off and on in our bead store the other day.  I think it was Kathleen.  I really do.   I love you girlfriend!  Jo Merkle,  Athens, OH", 10/25/07

"Kathleen was a rare friend.  One of those people you hit it off with so fast it seems like you knew each other forever and with who, after a years seperation, the conversation flows like you barely left the room.  She struck me as being endlessly in love with and curious about the world around her and her relationship with it. It's what made her art glow.  Kathleen was a remarkable person in so many ways and I'll miss her. Alot.  I like to believe we meet the people we're supposed to, when we're supposed to, to have the experiences that enrich our lives.  Kathleen certainly enriched mine with her genorous spirit, her thoughtfulness, her kindness,  her spunk, that wonderful Kathleen sense of humor and so much more. Thanks and Happy Trails, Kathleen.   Phil Berry-friend from Ohio and fellow camper in Catalina",  Athens, Ohio, 10/25/07

     "It has taken me five days after hearing about Kath's passing (I almost always called her Kath) to be able to sit down and write this.  I'm crying again as I do so.  I hadn't talked to her for much too long, and the last I had she insisted she was doing great.  She didn't like the drugs but she was doing fine.  I admired her incredible strength and spirit, and the way she remained so upbeat.   If you didn't know she had cancer, you wouldn't have known she was sick, so very concerned was she with what was happening in YOUR life.  She never complained-she just answered my questions, and then we'd talk about jewelery, common friends, our pets, and our significant others.  The last time I talked with her I told her I missed her, and couldn't wait til she came up to visit.

      Now I think about all the times she helped me in jewelry class.  She wasn't a T.A. then, just a regular student like me.  Well, not like me.  She was amazingly talented, and amazingly generous with her time and knowledge and sharing them with me.  I knew nothing-REALLY.  I had never had a jewelry class before, and she helped me so much.  She was incredibly patient and endlessly encouraging.  I told her then she should be a teacher.  It made me very happy when she started being an assistant.  And her jewelry!  I always had a thing for her pieces:  I thought they were fantastic.  I talked about her so much my husband secretly commissioned her to make a necklace for our 14th anniversary.  It's the animal circle on the website.  Naturally, I think it's the most beautiful piece she ever did.

      Our friendship wasn't just based on our appreciation of jewelry.  We hiked together, biked together, went out to lunch, just hung out, admired the view from her house, petted all her cats, petted all my cats and other pets too-in fact, she took great care of them for us when my husband and I went away on trips, talked on the phone, had a wonderful time on her 50th birthday party.......I thought it was so cool she planned her own birthday party.  Basically, she was just cool.

      Kath, I miss your smile, your laugh, your inner beauty and your friendship.  And yet not-you have impacted me positively in ways you could not imagine in so many areas of my life-you will be with me forever.  I love you forever--------------- Sherry Piatt", California, 10/25/07

"Kathy and I became sisters many years ago.  She was a wonderful woman and so full of life.  She was a very unselfish person, giving of herself and she loved life more than anyone I know.  Due to past circumstances we've talked only a few times in the last 13 years and the last time I was able to see her was in 2002.  I missed seeing her and the conversations we used to have and I was sorry we didn't get to talk more.  She was a wonderful Aunt Kathy to my two boys and they loved her dearly.  They loved spending time with their Aunt and Kelley.  I'm glad they'll always have great memories.

I've learned one thing from her passing......Always keep in touch with your family and dear friends and don't let anyone stop you from doing it.

We all miss you tremendously!!!

Love, Kim"

     ~ Kim S., California, 10/27/07

"Now she lives in every rock, every sunset, every peculiar shadow that  draws me in and rekindles my curiosity about this planet we all call  home.  As long as I draw breath, she will always be with me.  I'm  typing this in the same room where she stayed with us on a ski trip  to Tahoe 14 years ago.  A thousand years from now, a part of her will  still be marveling at the way the sun dances in the trees where we  all were sitting all those many years ago.

Gentle, peaceful and calm... truly an old soul."  ~ Eric Warp, Sacramento, California, 10/29/07

"I'd never held a sacred object until I held one of Kathy's creations  (the phoenix, I think).  As much as anyone can imbue living spirit into metal and stone, she pulled it off... the jewelry itself seemed  to have a soul.  She left a part of her behind that was larger than  herself in her art.  There's a universe inside each object, as though  each was crafted by a team of gifted,  loving, whip-smart and thoughful angels.  I was struck particulary by the phoenix, because  as we passed it around among my wife, myself and daughter, we all fel  the power of the piece, as though it had a life of it's own.  I can  still fell the warmth and weight, and energy, as I write this.

When I first met her, back in Bailey, she'd sculpted a funky little  plaster house that was kind of M.C. Escher-esque.  Her house was  festooned with all things colorful, flowing, intriguing and magical.   Everything about her spoke of the richness of her inner life.  The  Renaissance Faire folk (of whom Kathy was one) have a word for those  who live in a world devoid of imagination-- the "mundanes."  Kathy  was anything but, and we're all the better for that.

Such a delightful, warm, witty and funny woman.  You will be missed,  and yet with us always, my friend." ~ Eric Warp, Sacramento, California, 10/29/07

"I'm one of the instructors out at the  Wake Center.  Kathy was my assistant for a couple of the beginning  classes.   I don't even know where to begin, except to say that she was a pearl beyond price.  I don't know what she may have told you about teaching, but it's not easy.  I usually describe it as doing standup  for three hours, with blowtorches.  She made things so much easier.  With many assistants, I have to keep one ear on them, to hear what  they're telling the students, and to make sure they're right, and  nobody's going to get hurt.  I didn't really know Kathy except as a friendly face, and talented regular when she first started assisting  me, so I was a little worried.  After the first 30 seconds in class,  any thought of that went out the window.  I knew that I could trust  her, completely.  That is the highest praise I know how to give.  To know that I could trust her to be right.  Every time.  To know that I  didn't need to listen, that I could relax and give my full attention to the students in front of me was an amazing gift.  I hope she knew how much I appreciated it.  She was so patient, and giving, especially with the beginners.  I've been doing jewelry and metalwork since I was fifteen.  Sometimes, I  forget how I learned certain things, or forget that there were ever times when I didn't know six different ways to do 'x'.  She was a  wonderful reality check, reminding me of what it felt like when it was all bright and new.  Her enthusiasm was contagious, and it was a  joy watching her share it with the students, especially once they were her own.  She touched many lives at the Jewelry Lab, and now  that I  read all the stories here, it's clear that she left a trail of smiles behind her wherever she went. 

A wake of smiles is a pretty good thing to leave behind."

     ~ Brian Meek, MFA., Santa Barbara, California, 10/30/07

"Dear Kathleen, K is for Kathleen a wonderful human being,and K is for the Kindest of your Heart within you. I will always remember you."

     ~ Ron, 10/30/07

"Kathleen was a woman of valor, talent and grace.  Her beauty lives on in her work and in our memories."   – Susan Welsh, 10/30/07

"KATHLEEN, my dear sweet  friend,  I Love You. I am proud of you. And as always, there is no thing I will not do for you. I am honored to have you for a friend and blessed to be your friend! JOY"  ~ Santa Barbara, California, 11/6/07

"Dearest sister,
I knew you for such a short time and in that time you touched my  heart. You co-created a sacred tool for me called, Dragonfly to Egypt.  When you were creating my piece, you had the energy to connect  with my guides and draw from them what to make. You are an amazing  being and I am honored to have known you in this life.

Blessings to you,
Keenya McNamara"  ~ England, 11/16/07

"Hello Kelley and Everyone,
It has been a month since our dear Kathleen has left us and it has been a most difficult time for  all of us at the Wake Center where Kathleen taught jewelry.  She was such a wonderful teacher and lovely warm caring person and not a day has passed when she was not remembered in some way.  She did so very much for all of her students and for the program as well.  One of her students from China spoke to me last Thursday evening (the last nite of classes for this term) and said he thinks  of her all the time and remembers her warmth and how patient and loving she was to him and all who were in her beginning class.  Kathleen was always ready to help in so many ways.  I remember her seeing that the stone grinders needed re-building so that the water system was more effective for stone grinding and she just went to the store, bought some new tubing, drilled holes in the side of the machines and fixed them all up so they worked well.  She always went the "extra mile"....with a smile..helping with studio clean up days, coming in and giving special talks about the special  gem stones she had purchased in Tuscon,  assisting at the specialty weekend workshops with guest jewelers and on and on. I will also personally never forget the day when she same over to my house for a  special Qijong  therapy session (which we did weekly) and  realized that I had had a flood in the house and all of the wooden parquet flooring was soaked and  spread out all over the front yard.  Even though she was scheduled to go to the clinic later that day, she "dropped everyhing" and spent more than an hour collecting  and stacking the flooring  for drying and storage. That was Kathleen...always ready to help.

This month, we have collected $2000.00 from our Wake Center students and friends and relatives of Kathleen to have 4  tiles designed and installed on our Wake Center comemoritive wall.  The tiles are now being designed and will be installed in early January.  We plan to have a reception at that time.  We have also created an ongoing Kathleen Smick Memorial Jewelry  Fund.  Many have already donated to the fund and it has more than $1000.00 in it at this time.  This fund will be used to support student scholarships to our jewelry program and to augment our Weekend Special Seminar Program where we invite  accomplished jewelers from all over the country to come in and give special presentations.  Kathleen was very much in favor and involved with this program.  We will kick off this Fund officially in January with a  sale of jewelry tools and equipment which we will all be donating to. I miss Kathleen so very much.   All I can do is  remember how wonderful she was....how she enriched my life, and  enjoy the memories I have of her. What a terrific woman!!!

Janice Lorber
Kathleen's friend
Wake Center Jewelry Program Director"   ~ Santa Barbara, 11/18/07 (Kathleen's birthday)

"On this special day I celebrate you with all my heart. I remember you and what we did on many of your birthdays. They were all special. Thank you Spirit for giving us the beautiful soul known as Kathy. She has touched so many hearts and left her memories in us all. We are all so grateful to have known her and to carry on her memory. Her smile, her laughter, her beauty in all she was and in all she is now. Her gentle love she had for all animals and her character she displayed in so many ways. I am so grateful to have all the memories. Happy Birthday Kathy! I love you, Deb in Sausalito"  ~ 11/18/07 (Kathleen's birthday)

"I met Kathleen on only two brief occasions, in connection with a  wonderful piece she made for my friend Keenya.   In that short time my main impressions were of her great talent, beauty,  and kindness.    She lives on firstly because there is no death, and also in the memory of her wonderful and inspired creations.
With gratitude,
Leila" ~ Leila Mitchenall, 11/25/07

"To my dearest Kathleen;

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this onto your memorial Kathleen. I just could not find the words; there are no words that can show who you are and what you mean to the world and me. Love and strength are the first thing I feel when I think of you. Through your lessons I have more strength than I thought possible, thank you!!!! But what I really want to get across is that you’re not dead or gone! So I would like to share what happened the night of your memorial at the moon ceremony that we both love so much.

The ceremony started out for the most part like I felt it would except for a few new things we did in your honor. I thought I would start where we all were going to talk about a little part of our lives that we shared with you. We all lit a candle and one at a time we shared our stories about you.  I could feel you and as I stared into the fire and listened to everyone talk. I felt you pass in front of Carolyn and me. At that point Pam said that you were here with us and that you could hear us.

All the stories where of a theme that we did not have you in our lives anymore.  I just remember feeling you sit next to me, as I looked inward. I felt you poking me and you said: “Hear the frog, I am hear, rejoice in my life, love me, don’t morn me”. I was being poked over and over by you. I know you were trying to make me laugh. You were tickling me. It took a lot to keep from laughing, and on reflection, I should have just let it come.

Also I want to share what happened during our shamanistic journey after the ceremony. I know that this was one of your favorite things to do at the moon ceremonies. As the drumming started I was standing in front of my hole that I use to go into the under world. You were standing next to me; you were in a white dear skin dress. But I only saw that for a second or less. (In retrospect you had a lot to do and a lot of us wanted to be with you.) So the rest of the time I was with you, you were moving at light speed, I only saw you as a streak of beautiful light. You and I went down my hole in a flash and I was sitting with you and my ancestors around a fire. Then we swirled up and into the heavens with all the stars around us. We came back down into the cave and we were sitting around the fire again feeling warm and at peace. I was with the best of friends! At one point all the candles that we lit during the story telling, were floating around us in the cave. Were you showing me something? There was more, but that is for me.

I know (own) in my heart, mind, and soul that you, Kathy, are not gone or dead. Yes your physical frame is gone back to the one who loaned it to you. We all have to do the same when we choose to go onto our next work. Thank you Earth Mother for the loan of this thing we call a body.

I am so grateful that you are a part of my life Kathy!!!!

May the blessing be in love and light.
Keith Grey Hale" ~ California, 11/26/07

"I was so sorry to learn just today of Kathleen's passsing.  She was a truly visionary artist.  I have admired her exquisite jewelry online for some time."
     ~ Laura Werner, 12/14/07

"Merry Christmas

We used to have so much fun on Christmas. Teaching skiing at Breckenridge was always a long day on Christmas. It was a happy festive day. Fairly slow in the morning and people showing up in the afternoon for a half day of skiing and ski school. We used to have so much fun skiing together. Going up the T bar was always a challenge for us. LOL. How many times did we wipe out half way up and have to start over? Skiing the bowl was worth it. Going off the cornice was a thrill. After ski school we'd drive down to my folks house in Denver. They were always so happy to see us. They really loved you and still do. So many memories I hold dear to my heart dear One. It still hits me hard sometimes that I can't pick up the phone and call you. I miss you everyday. With love, Deborah in Sausalito."  12/25/07

"Leap year

Dear Kathleen,
As I sit in my office, I await the first Crocus. It is a long way off, as the Crocus is the first flower to bloom on the mountainsides here in the Rockies.
I just re-read many stories from your wonderful companions on this journey through life, and I am thrilled that you are able to connect with this diverse and amazing group of people.
This is the day after my birthday, and my eyes are missing your physical presence. My heart is full with the love we shared; my ears miss your voice; my memory holds dear the moments we shared; I can hear your laughter when I remember our silly moments. I remember you.
Thank you for taking part of your journey through the Rocky Mountains and touching my life.
I see you in the snow, the blue sky, the hawk, the crow. I see you in the crystals, the gold, the amber. I see you.
Here and now.

Aileen Grayce

Memorial Tile dedication
(Jewelry School, Santa Barbara City College, Adult Ed, Wake Center)

"On a sunny Saturday Mar 22, 2008, 35 of Kathleen's jewelry-school friends gathered for a
dedication of memorial tiles for Kathleen.  (You can see the tiles on the photos page.)   It was a very sweet celebration of Kathleen's place in the jewelry school.  Her friends shared stories of their interactions with Kathleen over the years.  I learned more about her with each story.  I offered one story:

'I think Kathleen would be totally thrilled by this honor and celebration.  She would both glow with pride, and blush with modesty.  Kathy truly loved the jewelry program  here at the Wake Center.  She spoke of it very often.  She loved the facilities, the instruction,  and especially you jeweler friends that make-up a supportive artistic family.

I'll try to channel her lighter side for a moment.  I think she would find great irony and humor in dying of breast cancer and then being associated tiles, on a wall. "Tiles" were part of her colorful vocabulary.  She grew up playing sports with guys.  Whenever she heard, 'Balls to the wall!', she countered with, 'Tits to the tiles!'  It always made me blush.  But she said it with pride.  She lived her life that way.' "  -- Kelley Harris, Santa Barbara, California, 3/22/2008

Kathleen's Experience with Cancer and Lessons To Help Others

"Kathleen repeatedly expressed the wish that other people benefit from her experience with cancer in general, and inflammatory breast cancer in particular.  To honor her wish, I'm very willing to discuss Kathleen's cancer story.  I've started collecting parts of her story and information that may help others on a web page Cancer Notes. "  -- Kelley Harris, Santa Barbara, California, 3/30/2008

O'Ranch memorial:

"We began by setting up an altar with Kathy and her feathers in the center. We placed gifts,
mementos, sage, crystals and her pipe surrounding her ashes. We began with an explanation of
Kathy’s connection with the Native American traditions. Then we called in the four directions.

East We call on the grandmothers and grandfathers of the east to watch over this ceremony the
element of air Springtime the eagle and the Hawk

This is the time of new beginnings, creation, sunrise, morning dew on the prairie, breath,

Blessed be

South We call on the grandmothers and grandfathers of the south to watch over this ceremony—the
element of fire fire breathing dragons, lions horses hooves striking sparks across the land

This is the time of igniting our spirit, summertime, laughter, surprise, joy, energy, heat, flame

Blessed be

West we call upon the grandmothers and grandfathers of the south to watch over this ceremony—this
is the element of water dragons as serpents dolphins all creatures of the lakes and seas

The is the time of fluidity, love, fertility, exploration of mind and soul, intuition, rivers,
springs and wells

Blessed Be

North We call upon all our ancestors to watch over this ceremony this is the element of earth,
bison, snakes, the stag, and the polar bear

This the time for looking within, hibernation, contemplation, silence dreams caves, crystals,

Blessed Be

Above-We call upon God-Goddess—all that is to watch over this ceremony, this is the element of
Spirit/Ether, all the beings who inhabit the sky. The Sphinx and our winged friends.

This is the time of transcendence, transformation, change, everywhere and nowhere, within and
without, the void, immanence.

Blessed be

Below we call upon our mother earth to watch over this ceremony, this is the element nurturance,
groundedness, magnetism, roots, magic, home

This is the time of now, presence, manifestation, knowing, creation

Blessed be

We welcome you to this circle where we celebrate the life of our sister Kathy—

We, of course improvised, and the words were spoken from our hearts.

We blessed everyone with sage, while Brian sang “The Lights of Cheyenne”

We passed Kathy’s pipe around as a talking stick and everyone had a story to tell,

Deborah spoke about her sister with whom she shared many nights of laughter, tears and love.

Trice Hufnagel spoke of knowing a different Kathy, one who was less self-assured, more questioning.

Louis Gonzalez spoke of gentle loving times with this magical woman.

Brian spoke about memories in Fairplay, Haunted Houses, Kathy’s room filled to overflowing with
“Kathy Stuff.”

Sandy (Deborah’s sister) spoke of sharing holidays with the family, and Kathy as a loved member of
the family.

Joe (Deborah’s step-dad) spoke of Kathy’s ability to listen, to be present, to allow one to feel
heard and loved.

Dee (Deborah’s mother) spoke of the years with Kathy as a member of the family, their shared
experiences with breast cancer, and the tenderness of Kathy’s love.

Howard Oberlander spoke of Kathy’s gentle nature and her gentle nature when she came to visit.

Nancy Powell spoke of her joy when Kathy and Deborah taught Dylan (Nancy’s son) to ski. His love
of skiing continues to this day.

Jonathan Bath (Raven’s husband) spoke of his sorrow at having missed knowing Kathy whose life
touched Raven’s life profoundly.

Raven Gebhart Bath spoke of her relationship with Kathy in loving tones. She told of Kathy’s
patience when Raven (then two years old) would search all of the nooks and crannies in Kathy’s
space and with glee and delight listen to the stories Kathy told of each object found.

Jim Goyette told of Kathy’s ability to master any skill she approached, photography, skiing,
fencing, beading, camping, jewelry making. She did not stop until she attained mastery.

Aileen Grayce spoke of Kathy as a sister, a friend, a compatriot, a confidante.

We then shared in gift giving. We drank Kathy’s favorite wine, passed around a basket in which
Trice had placed items of Kathy’s and everyone received a memento. We gave the women “Promise
Bracelets” and men received pins from the Cancer Society.

Brian sang “Moriah.”

We then, individually, took turns visiting our favorite “spot with Kathy” at the O’ Ranch, and we
sprinkled her ashes in those spots.
During this time Brian sang “Wildfire.”

We sang an a capella rendition of  “How could anyone ever tell you, you are anything less than

We closed with a prayer and the rain began to pour, buckets and buckets as we drove out of the
O’Ranch. We went to the Canyon Grille for dinner and toasted, roasted, laughed and cried. Thank
you, Kathy and Kelley for giving us this opportunity to celebrate the love and light we shared
with Kathy."  -- Aileen Grayce 9/22/08

For other stories about Kathleen's life,  see Stories, and of course her jewelry art.  And more photos....