Mary Lou Hale Smitheram

Date of Birth

December 27, 1928

Date of Death

August 6, 2022

City of Death

Santa Barbara, CA

Mary Lou Hale Smitheram (“Lou”) passed away peacefully at home on August 6, 2022 after a few years of declining health. She was 93 years old.

Mary Lou Hale was born in Prescott, Arizona on December 27, 1928 to parents Virgil and Mary Lyons Hale. She was the middle child of the family, with older sister Margaret Jean and younger sister Vicki Ann. Lou spent her younger years in both Prescott and Phoenix, Arizona before her family relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1950 and subsequently received a Master of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In 1977 she accomplished a long-term goal of receiving a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish Literature from the University of California Santa Barbara. This accomplishment is especially noteworthy as Lou was a full-time working mother while completing the doctorate program.

In 1952, Mary Lou Hale married Robert Crowell Smitheram (“Bob”). Bob and Lou made their home in Santa Barbara where they raised three children. The two were married for 35 years until Bob passed away unexpectedly in 1987. In 2007, Lou married Augusto Pravia Cerrud.

Lou worked at several schools and universities in the Santa Barbara area, including Laguna Blanca, Marymount, Westmont College, and in the University of California Santa Barbara library. After retiring from UCSB she worked in the Cottage Hospital library. Lou was a dedicated and active parishioner at Trinity Episcopal Church, a member of St. Mary’s Retreat House, and a long-time volunteer at the Goleta Valley Historical Society. She sang with the Edelweiss Choir and was a member of Friendship Force. Lou spoke several languages, which aided her in her many travels. Lou loved to research family history, tap dance, paint, and write. However, most of all, she loved to read, passing this love of books on to her children and grandchildren.

Lou is survived by her second husband, Augusto Pravia Cerrud, her children Robert Smitheram (Chiyan) of Santa Barbara, Anne Laurence (Peter) of Danville, and Mary Smitheram-Sheldon (Matthew) of San Mateo, six grandchildren – Robbie Zhang-Smitheram, Jessica and John Laurence, and Maryanne, Christopher, and Amanda Sheldon, and step-grandsons Noah and Ramon Wang. She is also survived by nieces, nephews, grandnieces, great-grandnephews, and several cousins. Lou is predeceased by her parents, her husband Robert Smitheram, her sisters Jean Pearson and Vicki Riley, and her beloved grandson James Laurence.

A memorial service celebrating Lou’s life will be held on Saturday September 3, 2022 at 3:30 PM at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State Street, Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Trinity Episcopal Church in Lou’s name.


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