|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Wednesday, 01 July 2009 09:57|
Kaylene Ann Smith, 57, passed away June 30, 2009, at Bridge Hospice Care Center in Findlay, after a year-long battle with lymphoma.
She was born July 7, 1951, in Bowling Green, to Marlenn and Kathleen (Simmons) Smith. She was a graduate of Otsego High School in Tontogany, and had many childhood friends with whom she maintained contact through the years. Her favorite memories of school included being named a top student and leading the band as a majorette.
Kaylene grew up on the family farm on Tontogany Road and drove her first tractor at age 6. She began truck farming, mainly growing tomatoes, which were sold to the former Heinz ketchup factory in Bowling Green. She was the only female driver working with Heinz at the time, at the age of 14! The family loved to sit and reminisce about the "good old days" back on the homestead.
Kaylene was married twice, first to Jeff Little of Bowling Green and then to Jerry Tripp of Findlay, and Bowling Green. She and both men remained close friends. With Jerry, she adopted three wonderful children: Peter, MariJane, and Catherine.
In the 1970s, she became a missionary with Teen Missions International. She loved to tell the stories of driving Greyhound buses across the country as she shepherded teenage missionaries on their summer quests.
Ms. Smith was a 1983 graduate of Bowling Green State University, gaining an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems. She received a master's degree in 1996 from Amber University in Dallas.
Upon graduation, she worked for the Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation, creating and developing computer resource centers for high schools, libraries, and colleges throughout northwest Ohio.
She later re-entered Christian ministries, working with several large and medium-sized churches in Ohio and Texas, concentrating her efforts on bringing spirituality to the children. She was the children's pastor at the Metroplex Chapel Church in Euless, Texas, while attending Emmaus Road Ministry School in the same town.
She had worked at VHA, a national health-care alliance in Irving, Texas; Harris Methodist Hospital in Arlington, Texas; Reliant Energy in Houston, and Echelon Charter Schools in Austin, Texas. Her role as principal with Echelon was especially rewarding as she led the charge to improve educational opportunities for minorities. Her school was recognized as having the single greatest one-year improvement in scores in state-mandated testing.
Ms. Smith returned to Bowling Green to help her parents and family as her father struggled with various illnesses. She worked for Reader's Digest doing fund-raising in schools throughout northwest Ohio. She loved the kids and loved working with the principals, secretaries, and teachers.
Her passion to assist people in achieving health, wellness, and peace led her to open the Vitality Shoppe on Pearl Street in Bowling Green in 2005. As a personal-life coach, wellness advocate, and fitness buff, Kaylene led the way for many clients to learn more about the connection between spirit, mind, and body. Testimonies too numerous to detail poured in and helped all of her friends celebrate her marvelous life.
She founded the Farmer's Market of Bowling Green in 2005. Her love of farming and eating health-promoting foods formed a strong base for the market. Strawberries, corn, tomatoes, squash, apples, and many vegetables are becoming staples at the market, first enjoyed on Pearl Street and now at Woodland Mall. The market motto is "Every Saturday rain or shine."
Ms. Smith's greatest passion was in working in psychodrama with her wonderful friend, mentor, and coach, Susan Powell, in Texas, Bowling Green, and beyond. Her many psychodrama sessions enhanced the lives of many across the country. Retreats, workshops, and personal sessions in Dayton, New York, Austin, Dallas, and Bowling Green attracted people seeking health and wellness in their lives.
Most recently, Kaylene was employed by Blanchard Valley Healthcare as a Process Improvement Officer. During the last weeks of her life her co-workers related various ways in which she had profoundly influenced their lives.
Kaylene is survived by her life partner, Jerry Tripp; her children, Peter G. Tripp, MariJane R. Tripp. and Catherine E. Tripp; her loving stepfather and mother, George and Kathleen Bell; sisters, Vicki Carnahan of St. Louis and Pamela Carnahan of San Diego; brother, Doug Smith of Tontogany; her counselor and mentor, Susan Powell of Austin, and her "bestest" friends, Janilyn Mertz Dennis of Bowling Green and Ann Davis of Dayton.
Her father preceded her in death.
Kaylene had many, many friends, and most of them would consider her their best friend. She loved to develop very close relationships with people from many different backgrounds. Her unlimited love and grace for all humanity attracted Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, conservatives, liberals, minorities, and majorities who truly saw the love of God in her. She saw no color and refused to judge others. She lived the values and beliefs of her heart.
Her love of the animal kingdom led her to a lifelong affection for pets: cats Dwayne, Angel, and Francis and her Yorkie, Theresa. Theresa was literally by her side for the last 12 months. A memorial service is scheduled for July 8, 2009 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 150 S. Enterprise St., Bowling Green. A memorial service will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a Mass immediately following at 11:30 a.m. The Rev. Mark Davis will officiate. A light lunch will follow in the church's Hartman Hall.
Tribute gifts may be given to the Kaylene Smith Memorial Fund at all Fifth Third banks or to Bridge Hospice Care Center, 1815 S. Main St., Findlay, Ohio 45840.
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