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Gwenn C. Smith

Published: 3/28/2020 3:00:29 AM
Modified: 3/28/2020 3:00:19 AM

LEBANON, NH — Gwenn C. Smith, 91, passed away March 24, 2020 at Genesis in Lebanon, NH. She was born March 21, 1929 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Albert and Elvira (Powell) Clifford, and was raised in Trucksville, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Kingston Township High School and attended Wilkes College receiving a B.S. in Commerce & Finance.

Mrs. Smith studied voice, beginning at age 8, and sang in church, operettas, weddings and other functions during high school and college. She had a radio program during her senior year in high school, and was a soloist with the State Chorus of Pennsylvania under the direction of the Fred Waring organization. At college, she was chosen Campus Queen by Al Capp, the creator of Li’l Abner.

After college she moved to New York City to study voice (Belle Canto) with Madame Giovanna Viola, who had studied in Italy and sung with LaScala Opera Company in Milan. Mrs. Smith sang with two “off Broadway” opera companies, churches and other functions but was unable to achieve her dream of singing with the Metropolitan Opera Company.

In 1953, she was chosen “Miss Subway” by the subway riders of New York, worked as an Executive Secretary at Pepsi-Cola and married Paul Guzzone, a fashion photographer. While pursuing a singing career, she studied with Jimmy Rich, who also coached many famous pop singers. She also studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, made many singing commercials and appeared on such TV shows as The Defenders, General Hospital and One Life to Live. She was a member of SAG and AFTRA. During this period, she also worked for tax lawyers, Shlom & Littman, preparing wills, trusts and tax returns; an affiliation which continued after she gave up “show business.”

Her first marriage ended in divorce in 1961 and in 1963 she married Dr. Walton J. Smith, a research chemist. The Smiths move to Wilton, Connecticut in 1969 where she was Assistant to the President of Richardson-Merrill, producers of Vicks and Oil of Olay. In 1976 they moved to Grafton, NH where Dr. Smith established a research laboratory, Bio-Pharm Labs, and Windowsill Gardens. They spent time working on his inventions and patents as well as traveling. Gwenn was on the Board and Treasurer of the Mascoma Home Health Agency, and volunteered in their Well Child Clinic.

In 1985, they moved from their home in Grafton to Lebanon. Gwenn joined the tax department at Smith, Batchelder & Rugg and continued with their successor, Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker. She very much enjoyed doing taxes, and after her husband died of Alzheimer’s in 1997, she “partially retired”, but continued to work for Schiffman & Company and other tax practitioners in the Upper Valley. She very much enjoyed tax work. She loved gardening, and was one of the founders of the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild which now has over 700 members. She designed most of the rugs she hooked and exhibited many at the Shelburne Museum and other venues.

Mrs. Smith is survived by three stepchildren: Kathy Johnson of Sarasota, Florida, James W. Smith, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Nan Runde of Hartford, Connecticut, and three step-grandchildren.

It was her wish that there be no services.

To leave a message of condolence please visit the online guestbook at www.rickerfuneralhome.com.




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