May Ellen Libby Smith

May Ellen Libby Smith was born on Aug. 15, 1918. May Ellen Libby was one of six children of Twisp River homesteaders Chester H. Libby and Marian Sears Libby. May’s grandparents, A.C. Libby and Sarah Barrett Libby, were pioneer settlers in the Methow Valley at Libby Creek beginning in 1888. May died peacefully at her home in the Columbia Heights retirement community in Wenatchee on Jan. 8, 2018.

May’s family and friends over the years were always amazed at the breadth of her knowledge about the things she loved, especially birds, wildflowers and plants. Her home was always filled with angels, butterflies, birds, poetry, music and a wealth of photos of her family and friends. May grew up in the outdoors, and throughout her life joyfully shared her enthusiasm for hiking, camping, fishing, looking for wildflowers and birds, and creating beautiful artwork from the natural world. Her sense of décor and style were praised by all who knew her. She held an abiding Christian faith and prayed daily for others.

May highly valued education and was always reading, learning, growing. She received her early education in Twisp. Later, she took night school classes, and in 1974 a Certificate in Interior Design from LaSalle University, Chicago, Illinois. During World War II, May worked at the shipyards in Vancouver, Washington, helping to build “baby flattops” for the U.S. Maritime Commission and Henry J. Kaiser Company. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, she worked for the Air National Guard in Spokane, Washington, in the Air Force Supply Department, where the superior quality of her work brought praise from her superiors and an official commendation.

The role of loving mother and homemaker occupied the bulk of May’s years. Her several residences always gathered a special group of friends: Twisp, Colville, Anchorage, Idaho Falls, Olympia, Omak, Sequim and Wenatchee. For the last dozen years, May was a beloved resident at Columbia Heights retirement community.

May was preceded in death by husbands Dr. Richard Smith, Glen Hobbs and Robert Bean, as well as by her parents, three brothers (Richie, Cliff, and Earle), and two sisters (June Libby Terou and Nellie Libby Odegard), and granddaughter Rhianna Kinglet Hobbs.

May is survived by her sons, Michael Hobbs (Terresa) of Oak Harbor, Washington, and Richard Hobbs of Clinton, Washington; five grandchildren, (Ryder Hobbs, Ross Hobbs, Mariesa Dale, Jeff Robinson, and Jack Robinson); six great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as extended family members and a host of friends.

May will be long remembered for her love for a wide variety of music from country to classical, and even at age 99 fondly sang her favorite, “Happy Trails to You,” to the delight of many. 

At May’s request, there will be no service, however, a celebration of life is anticipated in late spring in Twisp. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests remembrances be sent to the Methow Conservancy, the Shafer Museum in Winthrop, or the Methow Field Institute at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center in Pateros.