We are forever grateful for the life of Lucretia Papagni Smith who died peacefully on June 26, 2021 after 96 wonderful years on this planet.
Lucretia was born on October 7, 1924 at home in Fresno, California to Italian grape farmers and later, wine producers, Rose Mele Papagni who was born in Portenza and Demetrio Papagni, who hailed from Puglia. She had one older brother, Angelo, who died before her.
She attended Fresno State College and then graduated from the San Francisco College for Women (Lone Mountain) with a B.A. in Biology in 1947. At Lone Mountain, Lu developed a contemplative, spiritual heart which sustained her throughout her life. She was also fond of her time as a young woman in San Francisco where she attended big band nights at venues like the Tonga Room, shopped on Haight Street, and made endearing friendships that would last for decades. While she was at Lone Mountain she also met native San Franciscan Peter B. Smith, who literally swept her off her feet by carrying her up the Lone Mountain steps on one of their first dates. She married him January 3, 1948. They had six children: Noelani Mary Sheckler-Smith (Bert), David Joseph Smith (Denise), Evelyn Marie Smith, Demetrio (Dee) Smith (Jocelyn Thompson), Marianne Renee Zeanah (Greg Potter) and Robert (Bob) Francis Smith (Mary Grace Elizondo). A consummate 50s housewife who ran a pristine home, Lu believed she was born to raise her children to become distinct individuals and critical thinkers. She was very proud of their accomplishments in the world and would effuse to anyone who asked that she was the mother of six amazing humans.
Her grandchildren are Tanea Smith, Brooke Sever, Noe Bailey, Kalee Zeanah, Aaron Zeanah, Haley Smith (Andre Lazar), Campbell Smith, Alex Smith, Brian Smith, Scott Smith, and Jesse Thompson of Australia. Her great grandchildren are Kai Bellator, Gabe Campuzano, Caroline Hiles and GrantHiles.
Lu was an unassuming giant, small in stature but enormous to her family. She was accepting of everyone. She had an amazing positive attitude about life which she deliberately intended to impart on her children. Diagnosed with an invasive breast cancer the size of a walnut when she was 70, she relentlessly used visualization to shrink it to the size of a pea.
After her husband, Pete died in 1972, she went back to school for a second B.A. in Interior Design and practiced for a time, culminating in the remodel of her own home, the design of which she drafted in her 80s. She became an active member of Stanford Singles during the 1980’s and went on wonderful trips such as a tour of the Greek Islands, Italy, India, and China. A lover of fashion, she was a regular shopper in Union Square, San Francisco and always took great pride in her seasonal ensembles. She ran her first 10K on her 60th birthday and enjoyed Zumba well into her 80s. She had an open mind and never stopped growing, attending the first International Enneagram Conference at Stanford and was actively involved in spiritual/psychological growth going into her senior years.
The family is forever grateful to the staff at Sunrise Villa where she lived the last three years of her life. She was given exceptional person-centered care in a place that truly was her home.
A mass will be celebrated for Lu on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at St. Leo’s Church, 601 Agua Caliente, Sonoma at 10AM with a reception following at the home of her daughter, Noelani.
In lieu of flowers or donations, the best way to remember Lu is to share her positive, warm spirit, inclusive attitude, and passion for living beautifully in your life today.
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