Floral 29

Anna Lee Smithana

March 10, 1926 ~ October 15, 2021 (age 95)


Anna and three lovely sisters were born into a coal miners' family in southern Illinois. All the girls went to business school, where they learned essential skills, such as typing and shorthand. Their father's health moved them to the Chicago area in 1948 where he succumbed to Black Lung disease at age of 50. He left a widow and 4 poor but ambitious young girls. Anna worked at the electronic companies, soon using her skills as a Purchasing agent and then executive secretary to a Motorola vice-president. It was there that she met and married her veteran husband, a digital engineer fresh from IBM and Korea. It was a bond that lasted more than 67 years. The family raised two children, Robert and Linda and also the three of her sister Ethel Accomando who passed on in Florida in 1958.

Good work ethics followed her as she moved from Evanston, to central Chicago, then to their first 2-bedroom house in Morton Grove and in 1967 to Mt. Prospect. It was here that she continued at Motorola driving each day with her white Thunderbird. Later she was semi-retired working at Illinois Lock company. Early in her career the thoughts and dream of living in California were in her mind, but not her plans. It was then a shock when her husband was transferred from Chicago to San Diego and she jumped at the opportunity. But it was still difficult to leave such close friends and family.  She immediately found work at military contractors in San Diego and joined social clubs to compensate for family, which always, as Italian heritage, remained close. The location allowed her to also visit her sister Catherine living in Phoenix; sadly, passing in 2020 at 98. Ann, like her family, was a loving person and will be dearly missed. Her daughter Linda died at 50 in San Diego and surviving son lives in Illinois with a remarkable family. Ann leaves her husband, Don and three granddaughters and a grandson along with 2 great-grandchildren of Keana Potts. The family has made contributions to nine decades of history. While Don worked in New York for IBM, they both knew and worked on the Cellular phone with the Motorola inventor, Marty Cooper. And work on introducing a low-cost memory technique made it all possible. Ann was in the middle of a dynamic generation which she enjoyed.

            Yet, Ann still had time to pursue water-color painting at which she excelled. In her senior art class she won awards at fairs. And sewing skills inherited from her mother were put to good use for her family.  Duties as the family chef were among those she enjoyed. She was helpful to her mother, even moving in to her family grocery store while she vacationed back to Marion, Illinois. A week in the middle of a ghetto seemed like a lifetime. It was exciting, but dangerous as there were gunshots. Perhaps that is what made our new family move to the suburbs. Ann never complained and had a great life, one that she actually had wished for as she dreamed in Illinois.

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