March 19, 2018

University community mourns the loss of Margery Smith, CSJ, '49, professor emerita

Margery Smith, CSJ, '49, shared rare books and treasures from the St. Kate's Library at Reunion in June 2017.

Margery Smith, CSJ, '49, faculty emerita and alumna, died on March 14, 2018 at the age of 90.

Sister Margery received her bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Catherine in 1949. She was a dedicated professor in the English department from 1968 to 1993 and served as the St. Catherine University Archives Director from 1993 to 2011. Her exemplary work earned her the 2010-11 Alumnae Award.

A successful graduate of a renowned University of Chicago Ph.D. program, Margery was an accomplished and enthusiastic educator who inspired a love of learning in her students. Her high standards of excellence never wavered, and her deep knowledge of and reverence for great literary works—combined with her dry wit and eloquence—provided truly memorable learning experiences during her impressive teaching career in St. Kate’s English department.

She had particular expertise in early British literature of the Renaissance and the Elizabethan Era, as well as in Russian literature. During her years teaching in the English department, Margery was a trustworthy, stimulating colleague and a lasting friend to many of her students with whom she kept up a regular correspondence after they had graduated. With her English Department colleagues, she generously shared the copious teaching resources she had accumulated during her travels and through her extensive research.

One of Margery’s special contributions to St. Kate’s as a whole was her labor of love in the founding of the Antonian Scholars Honors Program. After Margery retired from teaching in the English Department, she continued to contribute the University by beginning a rewarding career as St. Kate’s archivist and regularly teaching the history of the “Book” to appreciative audiences. Through the years, she also regularly addressed St. Kate's alumnae groups, captivating them with her sense of humor, keen mind and scintillating literary insights.

To her last days, Margery’s intellect remained strong, and her faith provided a sure beacon to guide her. Moreover, her strong Catholic faith combined with a deeply-held respect for others’ religions. Margery was a courageous woman who possessed a delightfully feisty rebelliousness and knew how to speak truth to power. The impact she had on those around her is immeasurable, from the history and knowledge she preserved for future generations to the young lives she helped guide and educate. She will be dearly missed.

Funeral Services

Services will be performed for Sr. Margery Smith on Friday, March 23, in Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, 1880 Randolph Ave, St. Paul, MN. Visitation is at 10 a.m. with Funeral Mass at 11 a.m., followed by lunch. Burial services will follow at Resurrection Cemetery.
All are welcome.