Samantha J.C. Smith, 46: Star athlete 'went the distance' in battling illness

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Samantha Jean (Coons) Smith, 46, formerly of South Portland, died peacefully Dec. 21 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, with her family by her side.

Smith was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2012, and fought a courageous battle against the disease for 31 months.

Born June 28, 1968, Smith graduated from South Portland High School in 1986, where she was a standout athlete in both field hockey and softball. She later graduated from Catherine Gibbs College in Boston, and went on to work in the legal departments of AT&T and Unum.

In 2006, Smith gave birth to Paige Elizabeth-Gail Smith, and remained at home to devote herself fully to raising her daughter. Samantha took great enjoyment in doing almost anything with Paige, especially activities that also involved Samantha’s mother, Elizabeth Joyce (Curry) Frank.

Smith enjoyed gardening, landscaping and exercising, and had just completed a half-marathon road race prior to her illness. There was no bigger lover of animals; dogs, cats, chinchillas, guinea pigs and even hermit crabs were always part of her entourage.

Smith also liked to travel, whether on shopping trips to Boston or vacations to Florida with Paige, good friend April Rogers, of Falmouth, and her two daughters.

Smith was reassured in the knowledge that her daughter will  be cared for by her father, Kevin Smith, of Falmouth, and his family. Smith and her family also have been grateful for the assistance of the Maine Center for Grieving Children.

Smith is survived by her daughter, Paige Elizabeth-Gail Smith, of Falmouth; mother and stepfather, Elizabeth “Betty” and Bruce “Steve” Frank, of South Portland; father and stepmother, Gary E. and Eileen R. Coons, of South Portland; brother, Paul E. Coons, wife Debra J. Coons and daughter Sarah Elizabeth Coons, of Scarborough; and brother, Todd J. Coons, wife Angela Coons and sons Christian and Samuel, of North Windham. She is also survived by uncles, aunts and cousins.

The family would like to thank everyone who helped during Smith’s long illness.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at 2 p.m., at Conroy-Tully Crawford South Portland Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland. Visiting hours will be held there prior to the service, beginning at noon.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Maine Center for Grieving Children, 555 Forest Ave., Portland, ME 04101.

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