Patricia Scherf-Smith

Patricia Scherf-Smith, 83, Urbandale,  Iowa, long-time family resident of Clear Lake and the Ventura area, died Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at the Deerfield Village in Urbandale.

A graveside inurnment service for Patricia was held on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Clear Lake Cemetery, with Pastor Bernie Colorado officiating.

Patricia’s family would like to suggest that in lieu of flowers, donations to Unity Point Hospice of Des Moines or the Souvenir Building Collectors Society be made in Patricia’s memory.

According to her wishes, cremation has taken place.

Patricia Scherf-Smith was born on Oct. 30, 1930, the daughter of Earl R. and Laura R. (Swenson) Scherf in Canton, S. D.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Journalism from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1952.  

She was united in marriage to Carlton Smith in Chicago, Ill., in 1965.  Carlton preceded her in death on March 9, 1981.  

Patricia was a reporter for the Marshalltown Times-Reporter from 1952 until 1954; she then moved to Chicago in 1954-1955, where she was public relations assistant for the Rock River Conference; at a Methodist Church from 1955-1959; news release editor for the American Medical Association; and from 1959-1963 was press relations specialist for the American Hospital Association.   From 1963 until 1965, she was the public relations director for the American Academy of Pediatrics before moving to New York.  In both cities she worked for national non-profit organizations, among them the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  Patricia was responsible for national television and radio promotional campaigns, production of feature films, TV spots and a few features.  She administered publications as a division within the department.  The program ranged from full-length books to research reports, pamphlets, and newsletters, with about 150 titles in print.  Patricia exercised editorial judgment and selection, and supervised writing, copy editing, production and distribution of all publications.  She served as executive editor of the field’s leading monthly professional journal, grant procurement for audio-visual training materials, and supervised a professional library of 35,000 volumes, the Helen Keller Archives and the Foundation’s Record Center.  

Her professional affiliations were Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell College, PRSA accredited member, Women Executives in Public relations, president-elect from 1984-1985, National Association of Science Writers, and Women in Communications, Inc.  She was an avid collector of miniature souvenir buildings and houses, and a lifelong member of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society.

Those left to cherish her memory are her brother, Larry J. Scherf (Carolyn); niece, Teresa (Craig) Hill, all of Clarinda, Iowa; nephews, Steven (Heidi) Scherf, of Grinnell, Iowa, and Douglas Scherf of St. Paul, Minn.; grandnephews, Tyler (Brittany) Hill, Casey Hill and fiancé, Megan Kearney, and Lucas Scherf; great-grandniece, Emma Hill, all of Clarinda, Iowa.

She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of the arrangements.

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