Suna Smith, Providence Associate

Born in Turkey on April 23, 1936, Suna Smith left this world on July 8 in Camrose Alberta, where she had lived for more than half of her 80 years. An accomplished psychiatrist and professional woman, Suna held her family dear and met her first great-grandchild just hours before she died. Suna joined the Providence Associates in 2000. The following remembrance of her was written by Camrose Providence Associate Miriam Hanoski.

Doctor Suna Smith was a very fun-loving, generous and flamboyant personality. When I first met her, I was a little wary of entering in to a relationship with her (I see myself as a rather quiet person). But we became fast friends when she joined our RCIA program in Camrose as a sponsor, and later, became part of our team as a presenter.

She was comfortable in any situation we soon learned, when Suna, Sister Bernadine Bokenfohr and I traveled to El Progreso, Peru to visit the Sisters of Providence mission.

Sister Bernadine’s sister, Sister Rose-Marie Bokenfohr, acted as our translator and sightseeing guide. We had been touring around on a cold and rainy day. After a long and tiring bus ride, we arrived back at our hotel, chilled to the bone. Suna announced that a hot toddy would warm us right up, but the bartender had no idea how to make one. She said, “Step aside! I’ll show you how!,” and proceeded to teach him how to make his first hot toddy. 

Her generosity knew no bounds. While visiting the local high school in El Progreso, Suna was shocked to learn they had no microscopes. She immediately made arrangements to go into Lima with a teacher, to purchase a new microscope.

On another occasion, this time in Canada, when a new parish priest arrived from the Philippines in September, unaccustomed to our cold climate, Suna took him shopping. She completely outfitted him with warm clothing and warm winter boots.

At home, she was always exceptionally good to her nurses in the psychiatry department at St. Mary’s Hospital. She encouraged them to take upgrading at every opportunity and involved them in arranging regular potlucks and parties for her patients.

Every year Suna would provide the baking ingredients for her patients to bake goodies, for the fundraising bake sale for the mission in Peru. The bake sale was always held at the hospital and Suna was our best advertising advocate.

Knowing Suna always meant unexpected adventures and surprises. She loved life and we will miss her dearly.