In Memory

Mary Jane Carter Richey (Smith) - Class Of 1943

Mary Jane Carter Richey (Smith)

Hi Jim:    Just a quick note to let you know mom passed away last night around 11:30.

Just wanted you to know.

Lee Richey   10/6/2020

Mary Jane Carter Richey Smith was an alumni of BCHS class of 1943.  I think Mary Jane was our oldest alumni.  She moved to Ragtown in 1931 and went all thru school in BC.  First at a make shift school on New Mexico St., then the new school on Arizona St.  She was such a loyal BCHS alumni, she was instrumental in starting the All Class Reunions, and she and some of her Oregon family attended everyone of them.  During WWII she moved to Calif. to work in an aircraft factory.   She returned to BC in the mid 50s as a Korean War widow.   She had such a wonderful spirit and memories of growing up in BC.     

The next chapter of life took her to a new marriage and a move to Eugene Oregon.  

Mary Jane and family moved to Ragtown in 1931.. Her father was a highscaler and was killed at Boulder Dam in 1943.  Her mother stayed in BC and was very sucessful, including starting the first BC newspaper. 

Memories of Mary Jane's life and friendship will never leave me or her many friends from BCHS.  I did a video about MJ's life last year.  You can view it by going to her Profile Page (School Story) and copying the lick to the video into a browser.   Jim Widner, class of 58

To make it easier to find ..  here is link to the video.

 Mary Jane was the FIRST  Junior Prom Queen at BCHS in 1942 ,,,  Here is MJ giving a presentation at an All Class Reunion in 2013.   

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10/09/20 07:39 AM #1    

Jim Widner (1958)

Note from Kay Eaton Hettinger, class of 1952

I just watched the video and am typing through the tears.  So beautifully and tenderly done.  I did not know Mary Jane well, but there were family connections.  She was a Senior, I believe when my mom taught her first year at BCHS.  Have to check that out.  Prior to returning to teaching, and after my father had enlisted in the Navy Seabees, Mom worked at Mary Emma’s dress shop for a while.  The Navy pay was not enough to support our little family, so Mom needed to work and then decided to go back to school and renew her teaching certificate.

  The folks at Mary Emma’s were so kind to my brother and me and if we needed to see Mom while she was at work that was just fine with them. 

  I occasionally visited the office of the Boulder City Reminder newspaper that the Carters published.  I am sure you have seen copies.  The paper looked more like a high school publication from the 50’s done on a mimeograph machine.  Mom reported the activities of a number of Boulder City organizations to the newspaper and I was usually the one tasked to run the articles down to the Reminder office.  They were such fun people and always engaged me in conversation and made me feel quite grown-up.

  Mary Jane was one of mother’s favorite young women and perhaps that is why I looked up to her with such awe.  I wanted to be like that.  Well, I did not become the pianist, nor the majorette, nor the Prom Queen, but it was not for lack of wonderful examples set by the girls of BCHS.  Our high school produced some extraordinary people.

  That Mary Jane treasured her BCHS experience was very apparent as she became such a devoted alumni.  You did a most wonderful job of capturing her vibrant personality in your video.  A classy lady, indeed.  Her family and friends will treasure the tribute you have created with such care.


10/09/20 07:41 AM #2    

Jim Widner (1958)

Note from Kevin Boardman, son of Hap Boardman class of  '43 and Maurette Rodeback class of '44

Thank you so much for taking time to notify me of Mary's passing. She was such an extraordinary women and in my mind, a shining example of 'The Greatest Generation'. Your timeless pictorial of Mary Jane in her younger years at BCHS only serves to solidify why my Mom and Dad ( Hap Boardman '43 and Maurette Rodeback '44) had so many fond memories of their high school days. I'm a product of the next generation called 'Baby Boomers' and have lived most all of my 70 years in Bountiful, Utah. But without hesitation, I can honestly say I was truly blessed to have been born in Boulder City, NV., to goodly parents. 

Thanks again, for sharing a brief snapshot of the life of Mary Jane Carter Richey Smith. She epitomized the spirit of the Boulder City I have seen and heard so much of.

Best wishes and good health to you and yours,

Kevin Boardman 

10/15/20 08:42 AM #3    

Jim Widner (1958)

Mary Jane Smith     Obit 
July 28,1925 - October 5, 2020
Mary Jane was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 28, 1925. and was adopted by Sam and Eliza Carter. During the Great Depression, the family moved to the Texas oil fields, then migrated west to Boulder City NV where her dad landed a job as a high scaler, helping to build Boulder Dam. They lived in a tent on the bank of the Colorado River in a camp called Ragtown. Her dad Sam was killed in an accident while working on the Dam. Her mom Eliza started up the local newspaper. Mary Jane excelled in school and was elected Prom Queen. She graduated from Boulder City high School in 1943. She attended college at Pasadena City College where she was active in School government and was a Rose Festival Princess for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. From there she met, fell in love with, and married Leland Richey on Halloween in 1944. They were married in Pensacola Florida where he was earning his naval aviator wings. Shortly thereafter, World War II ended and they returned to Boulder City. By 1950, they had 4 children…. Sharyn, Leland Jr, Don and Ron. In 1953 Leland was called up from the Reserves as a Naval Aviator and was subsequently killed while on a bombing run in the Korean Conflict in May of 1953. The Navy moved Mary Jane and her children to a govt housing on Nellis Air Force base where she met Robert W Smith who, at the time, was the Chaplain at Lake Mead Naval Air Station. They fell in love and were married on Valentine's Day in 1955. They had two children….. Bob & Pam.
Mary Jane's lifetime of works, kindness, loving and caring for her family and others was evidence of her Christian faith. As a Pastor's wife, she was very active in the church and various other enterprises.. She achieved District Manager selling Avon products and was a general partner in the hottest beauty salon of it's time, KLM Institute. At the age of 83, she started a business called Grams Jams making and marketing yummy home-made Jam to local stores such as Market of Choice and Dickie Jos. Her husband Robert W. Smith passed away in 2005, and she lived alone with her dog Dolly since that time. She is survived by her six children, 14 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
Mary Jane passed away peacefully at home on October 5. A memorial service was held at Faith Baptist Church and a family graveside service was held at Rest-Haven Cemetery.
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Published in Eugene Register-Guard from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18, 2020.

12/22/20 08:26 AM #4    

Jim Widner (1958)

Here is one of my favorite pictures of Mary Jane ..  it captures a bit of her history !!


01/09/21 08:24 AM #5    

Jim Widner (1958)

One more look back at  a long forgotten  connection of  Mary Jane and Jim Widner and the Bywaters .   

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