T. Nadine Donham Smith – The Kansan – Newton Kansan | Wonder Mind Kids

Thelma Nadine Donham was born on March 14, 1934 in the family home in Wichita, Kansas to Claude Earl “Jack” Sr. and Vera Nadine (Willhour) Donham. Nadine was the oldest child, followed by Nancy, Claude “Butch” Jr., Carl, and Everett.

Nadine attended various elementary schools in Wichita before entering tenth grade at East High School. She graduated from East in the spring of 1952 and enrolled at the Wesley School of Nursing that fall.

In the summer of 1953, Nadine was keeping the scorebook for her father’s fast pitch softball team. It was here that she met Gene Smith. Gene joined the team at the invitation of a friend while on leave from the Marine Corp.

Gene and Nadine were married the next summer, on July 16, 1954, at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Wichita. That fall she began her senior year of nursing school, graduating in 1955. She worked in a doctor’s office until her first daughter, Robin, was born in 1957.

The young family then moved to St. Louis, where Gene attended graduate school. Nadine worked the third shift on the medical floor of a hospital to support the family.

Gene and Nadine then returned to Wichita, where their second and third daughters, Enid and Peggy, were born.

In 1961, Gene and Nadine traveled to Oklahoma to attend evangelistic revival meetings. At these gatherings, both accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and built their homes as a legacy of faith and truth—a legacy that has endured for generations. Gene returned to active duty in the Marines, and the Smiths relocated to several Marine Corp bases, including Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Quantico in Virginia. Nadine raised her daughters alone for a year while Gene served in the Vietnam War from 1967-1968.

The Smiths then moved to the 29 Palms base in California, where their fourth daughter, Amy, was born. In 1970, the family moved back to their home on Oak Street in Wichita so the girls could attend Berean Academy when they entered high school.

This season Nadine worked the third shift again, this time on the IV team at Wesley Medical Center. She started part-time, transitioned to full-time, and eventually retired from Wesley after 25 years of service.

In 1990, when road plans made it necessary, Gene and Nadine moved to northwest Wichita. Then in 2019, after Gene suffered a serious health condition, they moved to an independent flat at Schowalter Villa in Hesston to be closer to daughters Amy and Peggy.

At the beginning of September, Nadine had to be operated on for a back injury. Her condition worsened when complications arose from the surgery, and she died at Newton Medical Center on the evening of October 23. She was 88 years old.

Between all of these life events, Nadine was never idle and pursued many hobbies. She enjoyed sewing, quilting, and crocheting, and she used these talents to create dresses for her young daughters, t-shirt quilts for her grandchildren, and many afghans to give away.

She loved playing table games like dominoes and rummy. While crocheting and sewing, she also faithfully watched her favorite TV shows, including Blue Bloods, Jeopardy! and NCIS.

Nadine and Gene both enjoyed working outdoors, and they had a beautiful yard and garden at their home in northwest Wichita. Gene did the gardening while Nadine tended the flower beds.

She loved camping with Gene and the rest of her family, and they began the annual Smith camping trip at Pomme de Terre Lake in southern Missouri.

Perhaps most of all, Nadine loved to support her children and grandchildren by participating in their sporting events, musical ventures, and school or church engagements. These included sports such as swimming, tennis, track and field, soccer, football, volleyball and basketball. They also attended band and choir concerts, graduations, baptisms, and anything else that happens in their grandchildren’s lives.

Family always came first for Nadine. She relished the times when her family got together for holidays, birthday parties, Chiefs games, or just an afternoon swim at Peggy’s pool.

Nadine always focused on others and making sure everyone was okay and had everything they needed. She made it clear to each member of her family that they were loved and brought something unique to the family.

Nadine was preceded in death by her parents Jack and Vera Donham, sister Nancy Soward, and brother Everett Donham.

She is survived by husband Eugene Smith, daughters Robin McDonald of Albia, IA, Enid (Bruce) Penner of Whitewater, Peggy (Mike) King of Hesston, and Amy (Scott) Vogt of Hesston, grandchildren Belinda Preston, Tammie (Jesse) Maddy , Stanley (Brittany) McDonald, Wesley (Sara) McDonald, Julie (Wes) Stewart, Lonnie (Danielle) Penner, Ethan (Michaela) Penner, Toby Penner, Erin King, Ryan King, Taylor (Sam) Voisin, Caitlin King , Allyson (Loren) Pearce, Zachary Vogt and Jordyn Vogt, 14 great-grandchildren and counting, brothers Butch (Bonnie) Donham, Carl Donham, sisters-in-law Barbara Koch and Loretta Donham, and many nieces, nephews and other family members.

The viewing will be on Thursday, October 27 at the Petersen Funeral Chapel in Newton, Kansas from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. with family in attendance from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held on Friday, October 28 at Wichita Park Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas. A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 28 at 11:00 am at Hesston MB Church in Hesston, Kansas

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for memorial donations to the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains or Berean Academy.

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