February 2, 2010 - Issue: Vol. 156, No. 15 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 2nd Session
HONORING BETTE BELLE SMITH; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 15
(Extensions of Remarks - February 02, 2010)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E123] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING BETTE BELLE SMITH ______ HON. GEORGE RADANOVICH of california in the house of representatives Tuesday, February 2, 2010 Mr. RADANOVICH. Madam Speaker, I rise today to posthumously honor the life of Bette Belle Smith. Mrs. Smith passed away on Sunday, November 29, 2009, at the age of 88. Bette Belle Anderson was born at her family's home in Modesto, California on January 17, 1921, to Jim and Maysel Anderson. She was born severely pigeon-toed and the doctors recommended that she take ballet lessons to force her feet to turn outward. At the time, the closest dance teachers were in San Francisco. Her parents enrolled her in dance lessons, and drove her to San Francisco two weekends per month. Her father installed a barre at their home so she could practice. In junior high school, Bette Belle invited a girl with a broken leg to come over to her home and practice ballet. This was the beginning of the Smith's dancing school. With nearly one hundred students, the school outgrew her home; rehearsals were moved to the Elks Hall and Odd Fellows Hall. Recitals were held at Modesto High School, with an occasional small orchestra, thanks to the help of her brother. Her love for the performing arts endured throughout her life. Mrs. Smith attended Modesto High School, Modesto Junior College and the University of California, Los Angeles. She left UCLA and returned to Modesto to help her parents after they were in a car accident. At this time, World War II was in full force and Mrs. Smith was the first in line to assist. She rolled bandages for the Red Cross, gathered a group of her former dance students to perform for convalescing soldiers at Awahnee Naval Hospital and what was then Hammond General Hospital in Modesto. After the war ended, she married Jean Smith, her longtime boyfriend. He had served in Hawaii and in the Gilbert Islands during the war, and they corresponded with many letters while he was away. In 1954, Mr. and Mrs. Smith had their first child, Talbot, and thirteen months later she gave birth to twins, Mary and Tim. Being a mom was Mrs. Smith's number one priority, and volunteering was the second. She served on the Enslen Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, the Rainbow Girls Mothers Club and the Girl Scout Advisory Committee. She helped establish a Modesto chapter of American Field Service, an organization devoted to international student education. Mrs. Smith served on the Modesto Junior College foundation board, and volunteered with Omega Nu, The Salvation Army, International Festival and Inter-Faith Ministries. She visited with women from the Redwood Family Center who were recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. For many years she delighted hundreds of children as Mrs. Claus at the McHenry Museum, the Modesto Symphony and Enslen School. Of course, her love of the arts led her to work with the McHenry Museum Guild, serve on the Modesto Symphony board of directors and serve on the Gallo Center's original board of trustees as well as a fund development committee member. For 70 years she was an active member with the Modesto Symphony and was a driving force behind bringing the Gallo Center to Modesto. At the age of 59, Mrs. Smith went to work. In 1978, a group of investors asked for her assistance in chartering the Modesto Banking Company. She agreed and coordinated sales events to raise capital for the company. Mrs. Smith was named Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations for the Modesto Banking Company, now U.S. Bank. Although she was working full time, Mrs. Smith continued to volunteer and encouraged others to do the same. Due to the incredible amount of time that she donated to the city of Modesto and her community, Mrs. Smith has received many accolades. In 2000, California Governor Gray Davis named Mrs. Smith ``Outstanding Older Worker of the Year.'' She has also been named the Soroptimist Woman of the Year, United Cerebral Palsy ``Volunteer of the Year'', American Legion ``Man of the Year'' (now called ``Citizen of the Year''), United Way ``Volunteer of the Decade,'' and received the Modesto Junior College Distinguished Alumni Award. United Way has named an award in her memory, the ``Bette Belle Smith Campaigner of the Year'' award and the United Way building has also been named in her honor. In Modesto, Mrs. Smith is simply known as ``Mrs. Modesto.'' Madam Speaker, I invite my colleagues to join me in honoring the life of Bette Belle Smith and wishing the best for her family. ____________________