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Patty Smith Creates a Legacy of Giving

For Patricia “Patty” Smith, Mason County wasn’t always home. Her journey began in Detroit, where she lived until the age of twelve. The city’s escalating tensions, particularly the riots of 1967, prompted her family to move to Bloomfield Hills. After high school, Patty’s interest in dental hygiene led her to Kalamazoo Valley Community College and, eventually, a job opportunity in Ludington.

Trading city life for the close-knit charm of Mason County took some adjusting. “It took a couple of years,” she admits. But a deep love for the community simmered. This love recently blossomed into the creation of the Robert A. Smith & Patricia A. Smith Fund at the Community Foundation for Mason County – one that will support the greatest needs and opportunities in Mason County forever. It is a testament to Patty’s belief that when we are blessed, we should share those blessings with others.

Patty’s journey to Mason County also led her to her future husband, Robert “Bob” Smith. Together, they raised five children in Scottville. Bob, a Mason County native and owner of Smith and Eddy Insurance, was known to give generously alongside his beloved Patty before passing in 2013. Patty’s love for Mason County flourished while she built strong connections with her patients as a hygienist. Beyond her profession, Patty reveled in the beauty of the beaches and the State Park and actively engaged in the local arts.

Today, Patty feels a strong sense of community throughout Mason County – whether she’s participating in a meeting on the Mason County Central Education Foundation Board, actively serving at St. Mary’s Church in Custer, or driving one of her Hamlin neighbors to a doctor’s appointment. She truly finds joy in helping out wherever she can in the community.

One of Patty’s most treasured experiences is spending each summer with her three grandchildren from New York. She fills their days with adventures – sailing lessons, golf clinics, art classes – all woven together with the joy of exploring the natural wonders of Mason County. From ice cream outings to beach days and hidden rock hunts, these traditions solidify the special connection between Patty and her grandchildren and allow her to share what she loves most about her home.

The idea for a fund has brewed within Patty for a long time. When she joined the Foundation board, it felt like the perfect time to act. For Patty, creating a lasting impact and expressing gratitude are the cornerstones of giving. “The most rewarding part,” she beams, “is creating a legacy and being thankful for the blessings I’ve received. I hope future generations will continue to be thankful and give back.” She aspires for the fund to be a catalyst, encouraging others to contribute and build upon the legacy she and Bob established together.

Impressed by the Community Foundation’s broad reach, Patty chose an unrestricted fund to maximize its impact. She knew this flexibility would allow her generosity to ripple across the community while focusing on the greatest needs and opportunities at any given time.

Mason County’s distinctive approach to giving doesn’t escape Patty’s notice. She credits the presence of generous families who’ve shared their success, setting a powerful example for others – herself included. “There’s something very special about this community,” she reflects.

Patty’s story isn’t just about finding a place to live; it’s about finding a place to belong. And now, through her fund, Patty’s legacy of giving back to her cherished community will continue forever.

What will your legacy be? Contact Andrea Large at alarge@cffmc.org or 231.845.0326 to discuss setting up a fund or other ways to support your community!