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Life Story / Obituary
Freda Olive (Brandt) Smith of Galesburg, Michigan was born on April 13, 1924 in Flint, Michigan, to Daniel & Lucille (Fleury) Brandt. Freda graduated from Flint Northern, Flint Junior College, Western Michigan with a BA, and the University of Michigan with an MA. She took further studies at Wayne State, Western and Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
While teaching in Marlette, Michigan she met James Burton Smith on a blind date, only to find they had lived within three blocks of each other in Flint for 16 years. They married June 6, 1948 in Flint and then moved to Big Rapids so Burt could finish his pharmacy degree. With Burt’s Upjohn employment there were several moves, so Freda taught in Brighton, Allen Park, and Galesburg-Augusta for a total of 19 years. Burt passed away in 1994.
Freda was very athletic and involved in tennis, golf, bowling (for which she had many trophies, including most improved bowler and high game of 233). As a couple they belonged to two dance clubs. Freda and Burt traveled extensively: fifty states and national parks, all the Canadian provinces, Gaspé Peninsula, Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, West Indies, London, Europe, and three month long vacations to New Zealand and Australia.
Freda was interested in genealogy and was working on eight separate families. She visited many country court houses and cemeteries. IN 1976, using primary sources, she awarded the Centennial Family Certificate to a descendant of: James M. Pyne, Michael Brandt and Francois Fluri. When the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island foundation was formed in 1984 by Lee Iacocca and sponsored by Kodak, Freda got busy and furnished family photographs for America’s Family Album. These are now part of the Statue of Liberty national monument. On June 6, 1985 she received her membership in the Status of Liberty Register of Contributors, and received a certificate. In 1987 she was awarded the Library of Michigan Genealogical council’s certificate and Sesquicentennial Pioneer certificate for Francois Fluri. These histories are found in the state library in Lansing, MI. In 1997 the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society awarded her the Ancestral Family certificate for Michael Brandt, for one hundred years or more in Benzie County.
When her husband was transferred to Dallas, she made a documentary of the assassination site of President John F. Kennedy – starting in Ft. Worth and continuing to Dealey Plaza, Parkland Hospital, the Merchandise Mart, Oswald’s rooming house, Oswald and the officer Tibbett’s graves, Dallas Love Field, Hyannis, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Arlington Cemetery, and in Melbourne, Australia where there is a memorial for the President.
Freda leaves cousins: Ardath Dawes, Overland Park, KS; Leonard Brandt, Grand Rapids, MI; Alma Haas, Brandenton, FL; James Jaynes Hasting, MI; Eugene Fleury, Kalamazoo, MI, and their families. The Smith’s: Clyde and Ruth of Post Falls, ID and Charles & Lucy of Punta Gorda, FL; Doris & Wayne Stephens (Both deceased), and their families. Freda’s second family would be Hugh & Pat Brown and their family and dear friend William Pemberton of Port Huron, MI. Freda’s mother, father and brother are at the Grace Road cemetery in Elberta, MI. Freda will join her husband at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Contributions can be made to the Cancer Center or the Land Conservancy. The family is being served by McCowen and Secord Funeral Homes; Portage Chapel (269 344-5600).