The Ottawa Women's Canadian Club

A Tribute to Teresa Elizabeth Smith: Celebrating a Legacy of Generosity and Service


In 2019, The OWCC was endowed with a substantial sum of money by the estate of Teresa Elizabeth Smith, a long time member of the OWCC. These monies were turned over to Carleton University who matched most of the funds, thus creating a significant bursary known as the Teresa Elizabeth Smith Bursary. This bursary provides students entering any program of study and in financial need support needed. Over 30 students a year benefit from this generous donation.  The following is a exert from our October 2023 Luncheon.

” Good afternoon, my name is Caroline (Murray) Hicks.  I am the niece of Teresa (Murray) Smith.  I would like to thank Carol for her gracious invitation to be part of this lovely luncheon.  My daughter Isobel and I are so grateful to be here today and to spend some time with those who are a part of the organization that my aunt held so dear.

I’ve heard it said before that her generation was known as “the greatest generation”.  A generation that earned the title in history as the most resilient of generations.  I think my aunt Teresa embodied that description.  If I could find some words to describe her, and many others of this generation, they would be; integrity, a strong work ethic, commitment, self sacrifice and humility.  I think of all these descriptions, humility would be the most accurate.  Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”, and Teresa gave much.  She was a very humble and soft spoken woman who never sought any acknowledgement for all of her volunteer work with many organizations.  I remember attending the Volunteer Award Ceremony with her several years ago.  It was held one evening at the Museum of Nature where she was recognized with an award for all her efforts. 

Teresa Elizabeth Smith on her wedding day

She spent much time volunteering with organizations such as the Bytowne Museum where she would conduct tours and host their annual Tea.  She had an attention to detail that was second to none.  She also volunteered with the Royal Ottawa Hospital.  She spent much time making elaborate quilts that would be displayed in a store front window at a shop in Westboro.  These quilts would be raffled as fund raisers for several organizations.

I’ll share a little history about my aunt Teresa.  She was the eldest of nine children, my dear father among them.  She played a large role in the raising of her siblings.  She was born on April 21, 1919 and passed away 2 weeks shy of her 100th birthday.  Teresa was a life-long learner with vast interests, particularly in genealogy.  Her brilliant mind was matched only by her hard working hands, hands that always gave in service without hesitation.  Her tireless dedication to volunteerism was appreciated particularly by her service to the Royal Ottawa Hospital and the Bytowne Museum where she was recognized with a lifetime membership for her hard work and contributions.  Her varied interests included gardening, sewing, quilting, cooking, water colour painting, music and reading.  As my dear father would say, “there’s nothing that she can’t do.”  She was also an accomplished violinist and played with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.  I think she would have enjoyed today’s guest speaker very much as music was very dear to her.  She had a special gift of making the best of every situation and appreciating the things she had.  I would find reminder notes around her home with the quote “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  She knew that each day was a gift.  She was very independent and lived a very frugal life.  She prided herself on managing without excess.  She was a devout Catholic and I’m certain at the end of her life here on earth, that she would have heard these words.…”well done, good and faithful servant.”

I have brought a small gift here today.  It is one of my favourite of the water colour paintings done by my aunt Teresa.  I hope you will honour me by accepting it on her behalf.  Again, thank you kindly for inviting us to join you today. 

Caroline (Murray) Hicks”