Mabel Elizabeth “Betty” Corliss-Smith, 101, of Spring Hill, Kan., passed away Jan. 26, 2014 at Olathe Medical Center.
Betty was born Dec. 5, 1912 in Spring Hill to Homer H. and Susan (Crawford) Neff. She told many stories of her early years, including how travelers hitched their horses to posts in the streets of downtown Spring Hill.
She graduated from Spring Hill High School in 1931 and earned her Bachelor’s and then her Master’s in Education from KU. This was in the midst of the Great Depression and Betty was unable to find a teaching job, so she did welfare work in Olathe. She also helped in her father’s Drug store in Spring Hill.
Betty met Harry Corliss Jr., who worked in a drug store in Olathe. They married in 1937. His job transferred them to Council Bluffs, Iowa but they returned to Spring Hill after two years. They started a meat-processing plant together. Beginning in 1954, she taught third grade, until she retired in 1988.
After Harry passed away, Betty married Rex Smith. They lived in California for a short time until his death.
Betty returned to Spring Hill to the same home in which she had lived since she was eight years old. She substituted in the school district and sold tickets to the athletic events.
Betty was a member of the Spring Hill United Methodist Church, the Kansas Teacher’s Assoc. (KNEA) and the Spring Hill Retired Teachers group, Sigma Kappa. She joined the Johnson County Centurians for her 100th birthday.
She was a super loyal KU and Chiefs fan and was asked in 2006 to travel to Hollywood and film a commercial for the Super Bowl game. She labeled that experience as the most exciting event in her life.
Betty was also honored as the Grand Marshall of Spring Hill’s Fall Festival, with December 5th dedicated as Betty Corliss-Smith Day. She will be dearly missed by family, friends and her community, where she was a beloved icon.
She was preceded in death by her parents, both her husbands, Harry Corliss and Rex Smith, brother Crawford H. Neff, and son in law Paul Mangiaracina.
Betty is survived by children Susan C. Mangiaracina and Sarah A. Borchardt and husband Dean; step children Janet Phipps, Sharon Dunk, Larry Smith, Linda Lorz, and Pamela Price; grandchildren, Paula Gallagher (Robert), Betsy Fredrickson (David), Greg and Jeff Borchardt and two great grandchildren Raven and Jack, who affectionately called her GG.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m., Jan. 31, 2014 at the Grace Community Church, 19300 S. Hwy 169, Spring Hill, KS. Inurnment in Spring Hill Cemetery at a later date. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Jan. 30, 2014 at Bruce Funeral Home, Spring Hill, Kan. (913)592-2244. Memorial contributions may be made to the Spring Hill United Methodist Church or the School of Education in care of KU Endowment, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com.