Patti Smith's life defined by adventure, assisting others
Patricia "Patti" Edyth Smith possessed a spirit of adventure. As a young girl, Patti decided to take the train to the Chicago World's Fair to showcase the enormous corn stalk she had grown herself.
That willingness to dive in with both feet stuck with her throughout life, and helped her achieve and take on many things.
Patti would go on to work for a hospital and Multnomah County, serve four terms as a representative in the state Legislature and continue working on her farm. She passed away Friday, April 14, at the age of 70 in her Corbett home.
"Patti was the best sister you could ask for," said Sandy Cartisser, who was very close to her sister growing up. "She got along with everyone."
Patti was born on Oct. 29, 1946, in Portland to Albert and Beatrice Graff. She graduated from Corbett High School in 1964 and attended Mt. Hood Community College. Like the rest of her family, Patti was very involved with 4-H in high school.
She also was on the rally squad and edited the yearbook.
She married her husband, Leroy Smith, on July 26, 1980, and the two remained together until her passing.
Patti worked a variety of positions throughout her career. She was the head of payroll for Woodland Park Hospital and was a child support specialist for Baker County. Patti also worked for a time in real estate.
While she was working, Patti continued to be heavily involved in the community. She was a member of the Columbia Grange, and served four terms in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2001 to 2009. During her eight years representing District 52, she strived to be a voice for the people and acknowledge her constituents' and colleagues' needs, serving as assistant Speaker of the House for part of her term.
"My sister would always surprise people who called her legislative office because she'd be the one to answer the phone," Cartisser said. "That was just the kind of person she was."
And even while she became busy between work and serving as an elected official, that passion for adventure never left.
Patti loved flowers — especially lilacs — camping, fishing, hunting and making ceramics. She remained a farm girl, working around her family farm and caring for the animals. She also loved to travel in her RV, and would often go on short trips up the Columbia River Gorge and to Multnomah Falls.
Patti was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Clifton Graff. She is survived by her husband, Leroy Smith; her son Chad Marmolejo and his wife Amber, and their children Iris and Paige; her daughter Shannon Marmolejo; her stepchildren Melanie Smith, Jeffrey Smith and Valerie Davis; six step-grandchildren; and her sisters, Sandy Cartisser, Juanita Wilton and Anita Schultz.