In Memoriam: Jennifer Lynn Smith (MScSLP ’94) 1965–2017
Submitted by Jennifer's family and friends
Having squeezed every precious moment out of life that she could, Jennifer Lynn Smith passed away July 9, 2017, aged 52.
Jennifer was born February 2, 1965 and grew up in Winnipeg. During her school years, Jennifer made many friendships which became life-long. Jennifer graduated from Kelvin High School (1983), then the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (1988). She studied Speech-Language Pathology at the University of North Dakota (1991-1992), followed by her Master of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Alberta (1992-1994). Jennifer was in the first Master of Speech-Language Pathology class at the University of Alberta; it was a close-knit and special group from across Canada. Jennifer brought her humour, intellect, warmth, friendship, balance and creativity to the program. She also contributed a sense of adventure, having sky-dived with other Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine students! The class was truly enriched by her presence.
Following graduation, Jennifer worked at the Child Guidance Clinic (St. Vital School Division) in Winnipeg, until January 1995. She and her young family moved to Dryden Ontario where she worked for the Dryden School Board from January 1995 until September 1997. Jennifer then re-joined the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg, which had become part of the Louis Riel School Division.
Jennifer’s colleagues in the Clinical Service Unit remember her as an outstanding speech-language pathologist who was an important addition to Louis Riel School Division. Her professionalism and expertise were highly valued by those who worked closely with her over the years.
Colleagues appreciated Jennifer’s willingness to share information, her creativity, initiative and hard work. Jennifer was a leader within the team of speech-language pathologists, often gently reminding her colleagues to write recommendations for teachers that were practical and curriculum related. Jennifer continually encouraged them to pick the 'top three' recommendations rather than overwhelming busy staff.
Through her daily interactions, Jennifer showed a deep commitment to the staff and students in her schools. She worked hard to fulfil her students’ needs, whether it be through reports, material preparation, consultation, workshops or parent meetings. Jennifer’s warmth and kindness brought out the best in the many students and teachers she interacted with during her busy days. She was well respected and had an excellent rapport with children.
Jennifer was a pioneer in working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, utilizing “Social Thinking” programming. She kept up with current research and practices to develop the most effective and appropriate programming for this growing population. Her knowledge and experience established her as a leader in the development and use of a new social communication assessment tool and complex programming for students with social challenges. Colleagues appreciated Jennifer’s knowledge and expertise with respect to socially challenged students. Despite her heavy workload, Jennifer always made time to consult with colleagues.
Her Louis Riel School Division colleagues appreciated all the important and meaningful contributions that Jennifer provided to staff, students and families. Jennifer’s extensive knowledge, quiet persistence and gentle demeanor have inspired many teachers and colleagues.
Jennifer is deeply missed by her partner of 34 years and husband of 26 years, Christopher Pate, her children Dylan and Nicole, as well as family and many friends.