In Memoriam

“Women understand. We may share experiences, make jokes, paint pictures, and describe humiliations that mean nothing to men, but women understand. The odd thing about these deep and personal connections of women is that they often ignore barriers of age, economics, worldly experience, race, culture — all the barriers that, in male or mixed society, had seemed so difficult to cross.” — Gloria Steinem

Alice Han
January 16, 1997
Gardner/Friedman Houses
Rita Brackney Smith AC
March 23, 2002
Karen Simmons AC
February 10, 2008
Leah Ryan AC
June 12, 2008
Kristen Hinrichs Randolph
May 14, 2009
Talbot House
Lisa Mbele-Mbong
January 12, 2010
Tyler House
JoAnn Eichner AC
February 2, 2013
Marissa Ann Hermer Elliott
January 10, 2014
Amanda Jefferis
May 18, 2015
Mary Ellen Chase House
Coleen-Marie Hanson
September 12, 2015
Hopkins/Cushing Houses
Felicia Feng
October 5, 2016
Nadia Loan
February 26, 2017
Parsons House
Nancy Karella AC
June 16, 2017

Alice Han

August 11, 1971 – January 16, 1997

Williston Park, New York
Friedman House
Alice Han yearbook photo “I lived with Alice in Gardiner House our first two years at Smith.

“Alice was one of the most warm and fun people at Gardiner House. She was always up for a party and loved to laugh. Easy-going is another word for Alice. In fact, that is a foundational trait of hers in our first two years together at Smith. This is something I truly appreciated about her, as I’m sure we all remember how wound up we could easily become in that environment of academic high-achievement expectations.

“All of this was wrapped up in a very quiet demeanor that made the zany side so much more delightful when she felt comfortable to show it.

“After a couple of years of not seeing one another (as I was away my junior year and we both lived in Friedman apartments our senior year) Alice was someone with whom I could still feel instantly at home. She had that way about her. The world lost a gentle soul when she departed.” — Kelsey Flynn, Class of 1993

Rita Brackney Smith AC

September 11, 1917 – March 23, 2002


Karen Simmons AC

August 4, 1955 – February 10, 2008

Craven County, North Carolina
“Karen Louise Simmons, 52, of Bath, NC, and Wilmington, NC, passed away Sunday, February 10, 2008, in Craven County, NC. She was born in Yonkers, NY, August 4, 1955, daughter of Louise Baptiste Simmons of Wilmington, and the late James Lionel Simmons.
Surviving in addition to her mother is her daughter, Dana Maria Simmons-Greco of Brooklyn, NY; her brother, Douglas Paul Simmons of Wilmington; a niece, Kristyn Ashley Simmons of FL; and her special friend, William H. ‘Bill’ Hall of Bath.

“Karen was an amazing mother and a remarkable woman whose strength and support will be remembered always by her family, friends and those whose paths she crossed. She was a graduate of Smith College and Western New England Law School. She was an advocate for domestic violence victims, and a partner of Hager and Simmons Law Office, P.C. in Wilmington and Bath. Karen was past president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club and served on their board of directors. She was a Historical Impressionist who also served on the 64th Regiment of Foot.”

Published in the Wilmington Star-News from Feb. 14 to Feb. 15, 2008

Leah Ryan AC

March 15, 1964 – June 12, 2008

New York, New York
“Leah Ryan, playwright, author, teacher, gourmet cook, and noted cat butler, died of leukemia on June 12th in New York City. She had initially planned to die of emphysema in Paris, but was unable to secure funding. She was 44.

“Born in Greenfield, MA on March 15, 1964, Ms. Ryan spent her early years hanging out with bad kids, smoking cigarettes, and questioning reality, then attended Holyoke Community College before it was cool. In addition to being a tableware sanitation engineer, Ms. Ryan also worked as a short order cook, nose-ring salesperson, angst-ridden telemarketer, and sandblaster.

“She graduated with honors from Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar, winning the Denis Johnston prize for excellence in playwriting three times and the Jill Cummins MacLean Prize once. Ms. Ryan then earned her Artist Diploma in Playwriting at Julliard and her MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where she won the Distinguished Teaching award and was twice chosen to take part in the annual Iowa Playwrights Festival.

“Ms. Ryan’s plays are performed all over the United States, often by actors. Her conquests include the 21st Century Playwrights Festival at Theatre Row Theatre, the Chekhov Now Festival, The LITE Company, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, La Mama, the Turnip Theatre, Highwire Theater, Trapdoor Theatre, Penumbra Theater, New World Theater at UMass, and PlayLabs (at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis). She collaborated with the creators of Just Say Blow Me, Birth of aNasian, Kate’s ChinkORama, and a piece for Brave New World: American Theater Responds to 9/11, at Town Hall in New York City, titled Special Price for You, Okay? Ms. Ryan’s work has been commissioned by several theatres, including Gorilla Rep, The Acting Company, Epic Theatre Center, and Echo Theatre of Los Angeles.

“Ms. Ryan’s play Bleach, a dark comedy about the legacy of the Armenian genocide, received the Maibaum Award for plays dealing with issues of social justice, even though it was funny. Her family comedy Raised By Lesbians has been produced all over the US, including the upcoming performance at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC). In 2005, she was chosen as a resident artist at the Hall Farm center for Arts and Education in Vermont. She was a member of the Dramatists Guild, but refused to master the secret handshake.

“She wrote scripts for the PBS children’s show Arthur, including a version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, and an episode about cancer co-sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

“Ms. Ryan taught playwriting, English, and creative writing to a wide variety of students, including at The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, where she was a professor in the Arts and Communications department and founder of their Writing Center. She also taught at SUNY Old Westbury, The University of Iowa, Fordham University, Hampshire College, Smith College, Holyoke Community College, the College of New Rochelle in the South Bronx, Riverdale Country School, and at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the New York City public school system.

“Ms. Ryan worked with groups of high school and college students at Vassar College and at New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater Apprentice Training Program on productions of adaptations of the Chekhov plays The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. The Apprentice Company also performed her adaptation of The Oresteia, and will perform her adaptation of Gogol’s The Overcoat this summer. She received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts for her work with Epic Theatre Center, creating modern adaptations of classic plays with groups of middle and high school students.

“Her publications include the literary anthology For Here or To Go (Garrett County Press), which shamelessly exploited her years of shameless exploitation by the service industry; work in the anthologies Through the Kitchen Window, Even More Monologues By Women For Women, and The Best of Temp Slave, as well as in many small magazines. Her play Pigeon was published by Playscripts, Inc. Her short work appeared in 400Words, including the debut issue, and she was Fiction Editor and a regular columnist at Punk Planet magazine. She also wrote copy for post-modern greeting cards-the ones that are so cool you buy them without any idea why or for whom; and she reviewed books for The New York Post without once uttering the phrase ‘book reviews for non-readers.’ She was working on a novel, The Other One, when she died.

“Ms. Ryan is mourned by her mothers Arlene Avakian and Martha Ayres, and by friends, actors, students, writers, and work associates. When she was dying we were not all that surprised to hear laughter coming from her room when people came to say goodbye. We will sorely miss Leah Ryan’s remarkable talents, her kind, generous heart, and her acerbic wit.”

Published in Ithaca Journal on July 11, 2008

Kristen Hinrichs Randolph

March 22, 1971 – May 14, 2009

Oak Park, Illinois
Talbot House
Studio Art/Economics
“Kristen Kelly, nee Hinrichs, Randolph. Born on March 22, 1971, in Jacksonville, Florida. Graduated with honors from Smith College with a degree in Fine Arts and Economics and earned an MBA from Georgetown University. Died unexpectedly on May 14, 2009, in Oak Park, Illinois. Loving wife of Alan Max Fitz Randolph; devoted mother of Naomi, Carolyn and Owen; daughter of Linda Hinrichs and the late Dr. H. Richard Hinrichs of Albuquerque, New Mexico; sister of Kate Godowski (Steve) of Denver, Colorado and Jack Hinrichs (Amanda) of Atlanta Georgia; niece of Mary Kay Baldwin of New York City.”

Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on May 17, 2009

“She graduated from Smith with honors with a degree in fine arts and economics, and she earned an MBA from Georgetown University. I first met Kristen in the eighth grade at the Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, NM. She was a kind and talented friend who excelled in academics, athletics, and art.

“One of my fondest memories of her was when we drove from New Mexico to Smith before our senior year. I was bringing a car to Smith, which was a stick shift. Neither one of us had driven a stick before; we spent four days traversing the country, laughing, and hoping we wouldn’t run into traffic so that we wouldn’t stall the car! Kristen had a great capacity for love and cherished her time with her husband, Alan, and their three young children, Naomi, Carolyn, and Owen, as well as with her extended family and friends. She touched those who knew her during her too short life. She will be missed greatly.” — Amy Lowry Collis, Class of 1993

From the SAQ

Lisa Anne Mbele-Mbong

June 8, 1971 – January 12, 2010

Tyler House
“She had fallen in love with Haiti during the heady days when she was fresh out of Smith College and Jean-Bertrand Aristide was the fledgling president of a poor country seemingly filled with promise.

“Mbele-Mbong’s death in the earthquake—even as her colleagues in the basement of the U.N. complex’s human rights section survived, her family has been told—has not been officially announced. At 38, she was a woman of penetrating intellect and many cultures, as comfortable grilling gang members about genocide in Congo as nurturing her son’s passion for soccer. She is one of nearly 400 U.N. workers listed as missing or killed, a toll certain to eclipse by far the organization’s previous worst losses.”

From The Washington Post on January 16, 2010

“Lisa grew up in Douala, attending Dominique Savio Primary School then moved to Burundi and on to Europe for High School where her father, Samuel Mbele-Mbong formerly of ASECNA was working for the World Meteorological Organization, part of the UN. Lisa then moved to the US where she studied at the prestigious Smith College. Following graduation, Lisa lived and worked in DC where she worked for NDI (National Democratic Institute). It is through NDI that she first went to Haiti, organizing elections. She later joined the UN and worked for them in various countries before returning to Haiti. She leaves a 10 year old son, Nady, her parents Samuel and Helena Mbele-Mbong, and a sister, Leontyne. The Cameroonian community, and the world have lost a passionate and dedicated human rights activist, a brilliant mind and devoted mother and friend.”

From Camnet

“LISA MBELE-MBONG ’93 died in the January earthquake in Haiti, where she was a human rights officer for the United Nations. A single mother, she is survived by her 10-year-old son, Nady. Lisa had friends from every walk of life, every corner of the world, and every intellectual bent. She lived her life with an open mind and heart, and great passion and drive. She gave much more than she ever took in. Lisa was loved and admired for her intelligence, strength, warmth, and her desire to effect change and do good—for her honesty, curiosity, independence, beauty, her voice, and her example as a single mother and friend. At Smith, she lived at Tyler House, and sang with the Glee Club and the Noteables. Painful as her loss is, our cup is fuller for having known her.” — Sarah Spikes, Class of 1993

From the SAQ

JoAnn Mansfield Eichner AC

February 11, 1932 – February 2, 2013

“JoAnn Mansfield Eichner, passed away quietly Saturday evening, February 2nd, she was 80 years old. JoAnn Mansfield Eichner was born Feb., 11, 1932 in Etowah, Tenn. Her fathers’ family was from Bartow County, Ga., south of Cartersville (But above Emerson). The Mansfield’s had farmed it since the original Patrick Mansfield founded it in the 1950’s, before the Civil Way and infest sued the Federal Government for the livestock taken and the damages of 1864. JoAnn’s mothers family, the Ramsey’s, were from Murray County, Ga., below the Tennessee border. The family was unusual because the founder of the farm in RamHurst had been born in the 18th century during the presidency of George Washington and his daughter; JoAnn’s grandmother had been born in 1860, when Lincoln was elected. Both families were numerous and Patrick Mansfield, JoAnn’s father was an engineer on the L & N Railroad during the Depression. Then they moved to Athens, Tennessee. Her father took leave from the railroad to become Sheriff of McMinn County during the war, and in 1945-46 was elected State Senator. After 1946, the family moved to Atlanta, Ga., and her father returned to the railroad for the rest of his life. JoAnn graduated from Grady High School and then attended Ward Belmont, a girl’s school in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon graduation she entered the airlines business with Delta and became the reservation manager with Southern Airways. In 1958, she met her future husband, I. John Eichner, Jr., when their respective airlines had an air route case that lasted several months in Atlanta. They were married on May 17, 1958 in Atlanta and their first son, I. John Eichner (Jay) was born Feb, 1959 They settled in Houston where her husband was in the airlines business, when their second son Patrick was born on November 14, 1960. In 1961 they moved to Westport, Ct. because her husband became an officer of American Airline for five years. During that period their daughter, Malinda was born on July 20, 1963. In 1966, he joined two friends in forming a new airline consulting firm SH&E, which kept them living in Westport and working in New York and many foreign countries for the next 29 years until 1995. In 1986, JoAnn became an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College for 1½ years. In 1994 they purchased a retirement home in the Island Club and they moved to St. Simons Island, Ga. By then their family consisted of Jay, Patrick & Malinda and they respective spouses, Margaret, Darlene and Krister. By then there were seven grandchildren, Jay and Margaret had L. John IV, Matthew and Joseph in Geneva, Florida. Patrick and Darlene had Meghan and Patrick Mansfield Eichner of Mountainside, N.J., Krister and Malinda Johnson had Ingrid and William in the Eichner Home in Westport, CT (of course, the grandchildren are mostly of college age by now. John IV has been in the Navy for almost 7 years, some of that time in the Middle East during War in Iraq. Matt is in Geneva, Florida and Joseph is a junior at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. Meghan is a Graduate student at SMU in Texas, Ingrid and Patrick are sophomores at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD., William is a junior in high school in Westport, CT.”

Published at Dignity Memorial

Marissa Ann Hermer Elliott

May 1, 1971 – January 10, 2014

Seattle, Washington

Picture“Marissa Ann Elliott was born on May 1, 1971 at Northwest Hospital, Seattle, Washington. Marissa’s childhood was spent living in Seattle and Portland before her family settled in Edmonds, Washington.
Marissa attended Chase Lake Elementary where she showed her intellectual talents which continued throughout her life. She was a student in the Gifted and Talented programs, winning prestigious writing awards.

“Marissa attended middle school at College Place Middle School where she was enrolled in the Challenge Program for English and Social
Studies. She loved her time at Camp Orkila where she first exhibited her love for working with children, first as a camper and then as a
counselor. A teacher was born!

“Marissa attended Nathan Hale High School, graduating in 1989. Marissa delivered the commencement speech at her graduation. From Hale, Marissa went to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She stayed there for two years and returned to her home state, graduating from Seattle University. Ever the high achiever, Marissa graduated with two degrees.

“Marissa continued her formal education at Western Washington University where she obtained two Masters Degrees. One was in Special Education and the other in English Literature.

“Marissa was a student teacher in the Seattle School District and obtained her first teaching position at Kellogg Middle School. The Shoreline School District became her professional home, and she never left. Marissa moved from Kellogg to Shorecrest and continued her incredible teaching career. At Shorecrest Marissa taught English, Advanced English, and AP English and writing. Especially skilled at teaching all students, Marissa reached all learners including students who may have been “reluctant learners” and students whose native language was not English. An accomplishment of which she was most proud was her development of the Debate Team. Under her guidance her team reached the state finals in their first year.

“In addition to teaching middle level and high school students, Marissa shared her skills and knowledge with teaching professionals teaching summer school classes in classroom management through Western Washington University.

“Marissa was a gifted writer, scholar, and educator winning many awards. A highlight of her high school career was a trip to Israel as a guest of the Israeli government.

“Marissa’s talents weren’t limited to education. In her early professional life, she was a Starbucks barista (go figure), an Assistant at the Madison Park Bakery, summer recreation director for the Seattle Parks Department.

“She did research and writing for the Seattle Opera program notes and would share this love of Opera with her students, organizing many trips to the Opera.

“Marissa was an accomplished teacher, the consummate lover of learning, and a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and friend.”

Published online

Amanda Jefferis

August 28, 1970 – May 18, 2015

Madison, Connecticut
Mary Ellen Chase House
“Amanda was born on August 28, 1970 in West Chester, PA and was the daughter of James D. Jefferis of West Chester, PA and the late Martha Ann Jefferis–Carlson of Wilmington, DE. Amanda was Presbyterian by faith and a proud member of The First Congregational Church in Madison, CT. She graduated from West Chester Henderson High School in 1989. She attended Bentley College in Waltham, MA for 2 years. She then graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA. Amanda proudly earned a double Master’s Degree in Business and Gerontology from University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA. She was an executive with United Healthcare and very good at her job. Her favorite times were spent at the beach. She enjoyed collecting sea shells, traveling, listening to music, reading, volunteering/attending church and especially loved her Saint Bernard, Susie Q. In addition to her father, she is survived by her beloved companion, Bill Fowler, sister, Krysten E. Jefferis; brother, Bradley J. Jefferis; sister, Jennifer L. Bethke; sister, Melissa Carlson; grandmother, Annetta M. Jefferis; grandmother, Virginia Hardy, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many friends. Her intelligence and witty sense of humor, as well as her good nature, that couldn’t help but make you want to be a better person, will be dearly missed.”

Published in The New Haven Register on June 9, 2015

Coleen-Marie Hanson

July 10, 1971 – September 12, 2015

Aurora, Colorado
Hopkins House and Cushing House

“Coleen was a true scholar, exceptionally brilliant and hardworking even by Smith’s standards. Instead of a traditional junior year abroad, she won admission to a ridiculously competitive program at the University of Oxford that takes only one American student per year, bringing home a master’s degree in Modern History and the Trinity College History Prize – all before even completing her Smith College bachelor’s degree in History (magna cum laude with high honors, of course).

“After Smith and an intensive German language certification (she eventually became fluent or proficient in at least nine languages), Coleen went on to complete an M.A. and Ph.D. in European History and Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in late medieval and early modern European history; development of criminal procedures; and history of belief systems. She then earned yet another degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP), specializing in Roman and canon law, BECAUSE WHY NOT.

“When Coleen’s health limited her ability to travel for further work or study, she became an online instructor, researcher, and technical writer, working from her home near Denver, Colorado. She was utterly devoted to her pet rabbits and participated in rabbit society and rescue communities online; collected and displayed exquisite icons of her Greek Orthodox faith; and took pride in her marksmanship at the local gun range. In recent years social media had brought her back into contact with her Smith friends, who were equally perplexed by and appreciative of her quirky humor and unconventional political views. Coleen is survived by her parents, two brothers and sisters-in-law, four nieces and nephews, and three bunnies.”  — Cheryl Hammond, Class of 1993

“Coleen was a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. She is survived by her parents Jan and John Hanson Jr.; brothers Mike (Tina), Jon (Karen); nephews and nieces, Cole, Ava, Matthew, and Lorelei. Coleen was a beautiful and caring woman. She had a passion for bunnies, religious studies, and learning different languages.”

Published online

Felicia Feng

October 2, 1971 – October 5, 2016


Nadia Loan

1968 – February 26, 2017

Parsons House
Biology/Third World Development Studies

“Nadia lived across the hall from me our first year at Smith College. She was a lovely presence in our cohort. I still remember her smiling face from that first year. Though we did not stay in touch after Smith, I recently reconnected with her on Facebook and hoped to catch up in person at our 25th Reunion. The news of her death was shocking and sad. She was a Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in Eugene, Oregon, where she lived with her husband and daughter.” — Jessica Lane-Quinquis, Class of 1993

Nancy Nowakowski Karella AC

1953 – June 16, 2017

Amherst, Massachusetts

“Nancy (Nowakowski) Karella, 64, of Longmeadow Drive passed away Friday, June 16, 2017, at Bay Sate Medical Center.

“She was born in Dallas, Texas, and is the daughter of Rita Nowakowski and the late Stanley Nowakowski.

“Nancy retired as an administrative assistant from Hampshire College.

“She graduated in 1970 from Easthampton High School and received a Bachelors of Science degree in marine biology from Smith College.

“She leaves her mother Rita (Guerrette) Nowakowski formerly of Easthampton; her sons Justin Karella of Edwards, Colorado, and Nathan Karella and his wife Rainy of Maui, Hawaii; her sister Theresa Lapan and her husband Leo of Northampton; and her grandson Tyler Samuel-Segal.

“Nancy was predeceased by her father Stanley Nowakowski and her brother Thomas Nowakowski.”

Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on June 20, 2017

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This page helps us remember those wonderful classmates we have lost over the years. Additional memorial tributes, including photos, from classmates are warmly encouraged.

Please contact Class Memorial Co-Chairs Cathi Ward or Madeleine Schulman with any additional input for this page or other suggestions.

Thank you to all who give to Smith in memory of relatives, classmates, and other friends. These gifts are most appreciated, not only for the help they provide to Smith, but for the fact that these gifts remember and honor those in whose memory they are given.