Renee Kathleen Smith: July 20, 1943 – June 12, 2017


With a big smile, a hearty laugh and a twinkle in her big brown eyes, Renee Kathleen Smith, a long-time Coupeville resident, lit up a room and all those who knew and loved her. And so it is with keen sadness at her leaving that we announce her passing on June 12 at Kindred Care facility in Northgate.

Renee was born in Spokane on July 20, 1943, and would have celebrated her 74th birthday in just over a month. A date she would have made sure her beloved children and husband remembered or suffer the consequences of her wraith!

Renee grew up the daughter of a railroad man and was “raised a city girl” with her brothers and many extended aunts, uncles and cousins in the Spokane Valley.

Renee met her husband Karl K. “Bill” Smith, a Coupeville farm boy, on a blind date and though she wasn’t quite sure about him at first, Bill’s small town charms would soon grow on her.

One memorable date all four tires went flat on his sports car, forcing them to stay the night in a farmer’s hay barn. Renee always said she had never met anybody like Bill and loved being his partner with the many adventures they took.

They married on Oct. 2, 1965, in a huge Ebey’s Prairie celebration complete with a Hawaiian luau-themed pig roast, belly dancers and lots of good times and laughs.

Renee and Bill moved into and renovated the historic Smith family home, and it became her pride and joy, embellishing it with many beautiful antiques and lots of bright colors. Peacock-themed kitchen? Renee did it, with Bill’s help of course. Her home was the source of many family meals, rose bouquets, parties with friends and endless children’s projects.

Renee was a schoolteacher in the Oak Harbor school system for 30 years, starting as a kindergarten teacher and then teaching at many schools in the Oak Harbor district.

She eventually completed her master’s degree at Western Washington University and spent her last years before retirement as an elementary school librarian at Clover Valley Elementary. Renee adored working with children and the joy and the wonder a good book brought them.

Renee loved a good adventure and lots of laughs. She spent many summers aboard the family sailboat with family and friends, enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. In her later years, she became an avid birder and an enthusiastic member of the Whidbey Audubon club. She loved her little terrier dogs, starting with Taffy, then Jack and more recently Buttercup.

Renee was a tirelessly engaged and devoted mother to her two children, Georgie and Charles. She was always there to support them in triumphs and trials. And to nag them endlessly when they didn’t listen to her sound advice! She was thrilled that they — finally! — graced her with grandchildren and it was her favorite thing in the world to spend time loving on her grandchildren.

Renee left behind a devoted family; her husband Karl K. “Bill” Smith, and her two children Georgie Lea Smith of Coupeville and Charles Knight Smith of Alexandria, Va. Also surviving are her granddaughters Knight Arndt and Wynter Arndt, grandson Harry Smith and her brother Randall Widner. Plus many loved in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and her huge circle of dear friends.

Renee was preceded in death by her beloved brother David Widner, her devoted mother Janet Widner and her father Donald Widner.

All friends and family are invited to join us for a celebration of Renee’s life at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at Coupeville Rec Hall. If you wish to send flowers, Renee loved roses and bright colors.

Or the family suggests memorials made in Renee’s honor to Never Finished Farming-Smith Barn Go Fund Me Page online at

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home.

To leave messages or condolences, please visit Renee’s Book of Memories page on the funeral home website at

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