Claribel Reeve (aka Joan Tess Reeve Smith), 86, known to many as Tess, and to her high schoolmates as Claribel, passed away on Feb. 5, 2011, in Fountain Valley, Calif.

She was born March 22, 1925 in Broadwater, Neb. to Ellen (Pecht) and Byron Reeve.

Tess graduated from Stevenson High School in 1942 and from Emmanuel Nursing School in Portland Ore. in 1945. Later, in the 1980s, she attended Portland State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN).

After earning her degree and becoming licensed as a Registered Nurse in 1945, Tess married Alvin Edward Smith, son of Harry and Bernice Smith, Stevenson barber and beautician. She met Al while in high school, living at the Smith home performing household duties to cover her room and board.

She and Al moved to Walla Walla, so Al could complete his Bachelor's degree at Whitman following the war. They then moved to Boulder, Colo., where her nursing income supplemented Al's GI Bill, as he earned a Chemical Engineering degree.

Their first home, after college, was in Richland. They divorced years later, when they were living in Sunnyside.

During the course of her nursing career, Tess "specialed" patients, worked in nursing homes, hospitals, became a public health nurse, inspected nursing homes, taught birthing and pain management classes, advised new mothers on parenting, and worked in the Pain Unit at Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii during the Vietnam War. She was an extraordinary diagnostician. She would often be consulted by friends or family in need of accurate diagnoses. Her skills will be missed by many.

Tess enjoyed travel and adventures. During the 1960s, she learned to fly an airplane. Later, she travelled on her own to Alaska while still attending college in Portland. Elder Hostel brought adventures in learning. The mountains and water were her favorite places. She could be found hiking in the mountains during summer and cross country skiing with friends and family in the winter. She enjoyed rivers streams and lakes on her raft, fishing, riding the waves, or reading in the sun.

Tess always considered herself to be shy, but she was often known as the life of the party, her lilting laughter infecting the room.

When she was eight years old (1933), her father brought Tess, her mom and two sisters, Blanche and Dorothy, to Chico, Calif., then he returned to Nebraska. They remained in California for three years before moving to the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state, where her mother established Ellen's Dress Shop in North Bonneville. The Gorge, with its massive river and high mountains, influenced her love of nature and the outdoors during the course of her life.

A few years after retiring from her nursing career, Tess moved back to California to live in Seal Beach Leisure World. There, she indulged in her passions - bridge playing, golf, concert attendance, spending time with grandchildren, and fishing. She visited friends in Arizona and entertained family and friends in her home. She moved back to Washington state to be near family for a few years but the pull of California drew her back in her final years. Her's was a life well lived.

She is survived by her two daughters, Charmaine Stouder and Jennifer Smith-Brock; five grandchildren, Stuart Mortensen, Matthew Brock, Samantha Brock, Christopher Brock and Danielle Brock; and four great-grandchildren, Lily Mortensen, Claire Mortensen, Connor Mortensen and Julia Mortensen.

She was preceded in death by her two sisters, Blanche Shipley and Dorothy Hayes.

A memorial, attended by family, was held for Tess Smith at her mother's (Ellen Pecht) gravesite in Stevenson.


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