R.I.P. BRENDA SMITH – FFHS Assistant Administrator
We sadly learnt from her son Stephen that Brenda passed away on Wednesday 23rd January at a Nursing Home in Nottingham near her youngest son.
Brenda became involved with the FFHS in 1995 when, after interview, she was appointed its first Assistant Administrator, although she had prior to then, attended FFHS AGM and General Meetings and the twice yearly conferences arranged by member societies.
From 1995 until 2001 she supported the FFHS Administrator, Pauline Saul (now Pedersen) and in 2001/02 Pauline’s successor Maggie Loughran, although Brenda retired in that year having taken on chairmanship duties with FHS of Cheshire.
As Assistant Administrator Brenda’s smiling face would have been the first contact that many representatives would have with the FFHS and its Meetings. She helped Pauline to supervise the FFHS room and take registrations of delegates when they ‘signed in’. She also acted as minute secretary by taking minutes of the meetings themselves.
She served too during 1995 -2002 on the Publicity sub-committee of the FFHS.
She was widely and well-known especially in the North West, becoming very good friends with chairmen and secretaries of other member societies, as well as serving on the regional NW group of Family History Societies for several years. She helped to organise many day conferences and family history events for over 15 years.
She enjoyed 3 trips to Salt Lake City, in the 1990s, organised by Michael and Mary Armstrong and Family Tree Magazine, when she was able to broaden her search for her elusive ancestors, many of whom came from South Cheshire and Rochdale in Lancashire. She also enjoyed side trips to Las Vegas, another time the Grand Canyon and finally Yellowstone Park. She disliked flying and it took a lot of persuasion to get her on board a small 15 seater to Grand Canyon. Her confidence was probably not boosted when she realised that they weighed not just bags but passengers too, very publicly, on a small pair of bathroom scales! A Photographic record of her enjoyment with others in Jackson’s Hole was published by the Magazine much to her embarrassment.
She was good fun to be with, friendly, wanting to be helpful, assiduous, efficient and loyal. She was good at her job and made what was a task less irksome! In the 1990s and at the turn of this century she was not a champion of the trend towards researching on the Internet, which she felt led to cutting of corners. She was a resolute champion for those without access to a computer or the Web.
Her involvement in the background and her friendship with officers and members helped undoubtedly to the then 3 Cheshire Family History Societies eventually becoming one, something she dreamt would be possible and which started when South Cheshire merged with FHS of Cheshire, whilst she was chairman of the latter. Her later years unfortunately were clouded by dementia and what eventually became Alzheimer’s meaning she probably did not realise that her dream of there being one Cheshire society was accomplished whilst she was alive.
It was personally a privilege to have known and worked with her. I have many happy and amusing memories of our time working with FFHS, as well as the NW Group and the Family History Society of Cheshire, far too many to repeat now. I feel certain her many friends will have fond memories too.
Rest in Peace
David Lambert 30 January 2019