Past President Pam Smith

By Sandy Carter-Duff

Pamela K. Smith passed away unexpectedly on August 29, 2017, at her home in Denver, Colorado. Her husband Charles (Chuck) R. Smith was nearby. 

Pam’s passion was genealogy so she joined the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (CAPG) and the Colorado Genealogical Society (CGS) to learn skills, methods, and resources. She became secretary of CAPG and CGS and eventually president of CGS. She attended Samford University classes and the Salt Lake Institute. Her research showed that her ancestry was primarily German. Her paternal lines were in the Haigerloch/Gruol area. These villages were once in Hohenzollern, a principality dissolved after World War I. She was surprised to find the high frequency of the family name in the kirchenbuchs and ortsippenbuchs. Soon her research called for her to become more specialized in German records, history, and resources so she re-joined Palatines to America in 2008 after a hiatus of several years. Very quickly that year she agreed to be the Colorado Chapter vice president. 

She went to the National Conference in 2008 and, when home, announced she had agreed to be National vice president of Palam. She continued as vice president of the Colorado Chapter and brought many well-known national speakers to lead our semi-annual seminars who she met at National conferences. Under her guidance attendance and chapter membership grew. By 2010 she was elected National Palatines President while continuing to serve as chapter vice president. When her national term as President ended she became chapter president. 

Pam’s main interest, besides her own family history, was the Colonial Marines and military pensioners and their dependents who returned to Germany after the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. This interest may have grown in part from the fact that her husband was a retired Marine. 

She gave up her Palam duties in 2015 to use her leadership skills with Daughters of the Nile. Her husband is very active with the Shriners. 

As this is written soon after Pam’s untimely death we know few details to share about her family. Pam was born in Quincy, Illinois, and went to school in Kansas. For a while she worked in Basil, Switzerland. She and her husband moved to Colorado in 1980. She’s survived by her husband and several children and grandchildren.