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 Phyllis <I>Weaver</I> Smale

Phyllis Weaver Smale

Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Death 29 Dec 2006 (aged 79)
Hyde Park, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Burial Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Plot LN-96A-2-4
Memorial ID 17309255 · View Source
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A pocket park at the end of Fifth Street downtown stands as a perfect symbol of the life of Phyllis Smale - exquisite, meticulous, yet visible only to those who know where to look.

"It was her pride and joy, yet it is very unassuming ... much like she was," said her daughter, Catherine Caldemeyer.

Mrs. Smale, a passionate gardener, mother of four and longtime wife of retired Procter & Gamble chairman John Smale, died Friday after a year-and-a-half battle with cancer. She was 79.

The park features a bronze sculpture of two geese flying in harmony, which honors the Smales' 50th anniversary. It was just one of many gardening projects for Mrs. Smale.

She spent years perfecting a vertical arboretum at her home off Grandin Road in Hyde Park. She was the inspiration behind the garden in front of P&G's world headquarters along Fifth Street. She also led the City Garden project in 1986 that raised more than $1 million to establish planted areas throughout the city.

"When you go downtown and see a garden, she was largely responsible for that," Caldemeyer said.

Mrs. Smale was born May 26, 1927, in Evansville, Ind., as Phyllis Weaver. She grew up in Minneapolis, then came to the Cincinnati area to attend the Western College for Women in Oxford, now part of Miami University.

As a student there, she met Mr. Smale in fall 1945 while he was visiting on leave from the Navy. Mr. Smale later returned to study at Miami University.

They both graduated in 1949, and were married in 1950.

Mrs. Smale earned a master's degree in American literature from Xavier University in 1980 and later served as a Xavier trustee.

In 1995, she received the Garden Club of America's conservation award; and in 2000 she received the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati's civic beautification leadership award.

Longtime family friend William Keating Sr., a former congressman and publisher of The Enquirer, said Mrs. Smale was "a wonderful, wonderful down-to-earth person. She helped so many people in her very quiet way."

"John and Phyllis were devoted to each other and devoted to their family," he said. "They were very unassuming, very understated people."

Longtime friend Louise Head, who studied with Mrs. Smale at Xavier, said Mrs. Smale had a personality with flair, yet was modest in public.

"She was really very generous, but she never wanted the limelight," Head said. "She really wanted Cincinnati's front yard to look like a garden."

Hyde Park resident Helen Heekin, a longtime fellow garden club member, said Mrs. Smale generously shared her knowledge and her plants.

"Her prowess as a master gardener was evidenced in her incredible gardens, both private and public, in Ohio, Florida and Canada," Mrs. Heekin said.

In addition to her daughter Catherine, who lives in Mount Adams, survivors include John, her husband of 56 years; a daughter, Lisa Corbett of Mariemont; sons John Jr. of Silver Spring, Md., and Peter of Madeira; and five grandchildren.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Shanna Nicole
  • Added: 5 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17309255
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Phyllis Weaver Smale (6 May 1927–29 Dec 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17309255, citing Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .