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Oxford athletes couldn't ask for a better friends than Helen Smith

Hall of Famer Helen Smith has earned the respect and gratitude of Oxford coaches like Bud Rowley. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010 - Helen Smith will forever be regarded as the matriarch of the Oxford Wildcats Athletic Booster Club (OWABC) and one of the most loyal supporters in the district's history.

It is that loyalty which has earned Smith, a 1952 graduate of Oxford High School, a spot as one of the charter members for the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

"I can't tell you how honored I am to be included with such athletes and great alumni of Oxford, and especially the great coaches," Smith said.

"We have so many that have done so well coming out of Oxford, even when Oxford was a small little school," she added.

Smith was one of the most involved students among her peers at OHS. She was the senior class vice-president, a member of chorus, newspaper staff and glee club in addition to being a performer in the junior and senior plays and a member of the cheerleading team.

She said that her favorite thing to do while in high school was to attend the football games.

After high school, Smith attended Michigan State College until she returned home to help run the family business in 1954.

For 20 years she was the secretary of Smith Silo Corporation. Although Smith's grandfather, Hiram patented the concrete stave silo in 1908, it was her father Warren that became a leader in the industry and moved the company to Oxford in 1930.

Today a model is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

An avid supporter of the Oxford teams, Smith has missed just one homecoming game since 1948, when only pneumonia could keep her from cheering on the Wildcats.

In 1968, she became a charter member of the OWABC.

"It was for the students," Smith said. "They are our future and anything we can do to make things nicer for them right now, we hope they will go out and in the future, do it for their communities."

She added that "it has always been my theory. You give back to your community and school."

As treasurer, she helped raise and grant thousands of dollars towards advancements the athletic program could not afford. She organized and ran the senior athletic banquet on behalf of the OWABC for 30 years.

Smith's involvement in the lives of children has not been limited to athletics. She is the longtime chairperson of the American Legion Post 108 scholarship committee and is involved in the Boys and Girls state selection on the post's behalf.

"It's my same old philosophy. You are helping them to go on with their lives...it is the same thing with Boy's State and Girl's State. It is quite an opportunity for them and I haven't run into one that did not think that it was a great experience," she said.

Additionally, Smith serves on the committee to select the Michigan State Police Student Trooper Award and was Treasurer of the Oxford Community Schools Board of Education from 1974-1976.

For her contributions to the school and the community, Smith has been honored with several awards, which include the G.E. Meads Award for Outstanding Community Service, the 1973 OHS Mother of the Year award and the first ever Wildcat Booster of the year.

Helen has served as Grand Marshal of the Oxford Christmas Parade and is the namesake of the Helen Smith Award, given to Oxford High School's top female athlete since 1980.

"I was so surprised. That was a boost to me that they decided to do that," she said.

Smith is the mother of three children who graduated from OHS: Gayle 1974, Patti 1976 and Juanita 1977.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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