Kaye passed away on May 3, 2022, at Rocmaura Nursing Home, her residence for the past five years. Kaye was born in Fredericton on Jan. 26, 1932, to the late Joseph Henderson and Blanche Henderson (Estey) of Durham Bridge, NB. She lived in Durham Bridge until the Estey family farmhouse burned down when she was two years old.
Kaye grew up in Newcastle Creek, a suburb of Minto, the oldest girl in a family of four. She got the highest marks in the provincial matriculations. Because of the times, two career choices presented themselves: teacher or nurse. She tried teaching, but found it uncongenial, so she became an RN, getting the highest marks in the class of 1953. It gave her the world. She lived in New York, worked as a surgical nurse in the New York Presbyterian Hospital and loved it. Meanwhile, back in Saint John, Robert was waiting. (When we were clearing out the house, we found a letter from Robert, written to Kaye when she was in New York, apologizing and begging her to come back. Since they got married, I guess she did.)
Kaye and Robert had four children who became two doctors and two teachers. Kaye ran the show. Robert worked all the time, gardened to relax and Kaye did everything. After the kids were gone, she was re-treaded as an RN, and worked at CentraCare for years. She loved the job, and she loved the inmates. She had sharp edges but a kind heart.
Kaye loved the world. She and Robert went everywhere and saw everything and tried everything. The world fascinated her, and she passed that on to her children.
She loved music. She played piano and knew it was a wonderful thing to share so all the kids started off with piano lessons with mixed results. The New Brunswick Symphony was her special passion. She volunteered in their office for years and she and Robert worked the Music Festival every year. They billeted young and interesting visiting musicians who came from across Canada to play in our symphony. She became a real estate agent in her retirement as well as managing Robert’s pediatric practice. She was also a Little Richard fan.
“In her last 10 years, dementia slowly took her away. If she could have heard me, I would have told her she was always right because she was and that I am the person I am because I argued with her about everything. She probably knew that anyway.” -Colin Smith
Kaye was predeceased by her husband, Dr. Robert L. Smith in 2018. She is survived by her sister Wanda Colvin of Kelowna, B.C.; children, Vaughn (Frauke) of Hunter River, PEI, Wendy (Kevin McNeil) of Rothesay, Colin (Susan Galbraith) of Florenceville and Owen (Meg Edmonds) of Toronto; grandchildren Patrick (Julia Rambau) of Toronto, Kathryn (Martin Bielecki) of Calgary, Emily Sifton (Adam) of Edmonton, Eli and Yulin of Rothesay, Kaleb of Yucapia, Sam and Jack of Toronto; great grandchildren Daphne, Leo, Violet, Oscar, and Norah.
Arrangements are under the care of Fundy Funeral Home, 230 Westmorland Road (646-2424). There will be no visitation at Kaye’s request. A family gathering will be held at a later date.
Donations in her memory would be appreciated towards Symphony New Brunswick, Rocmaura Nursing Home, and the Alzheimer Society of NB.
Symphony New Brunswick Inc.
Brunswick Sq., Level 3, 30 King St., Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4W3,
Rocmaura Foundation Inc.
10 Parks St, Saint John NB E2K 4P1
Contact: Sally Cummings
Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick
221 Ellerdale Street, Saint John NB E2J 2M1