Martha Smith Obituary

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In Memory of

Martha Jane Claypool Smith

August 3, 1913 - July 11, 2014
Obituary

Martha Jane Claypool Smith, retired Central Intelligence Officer and amateur artist, died peacefully in her home in McLean, Virginia, on July 11, 2014, at the age of 100. She was a long-time member of the National City Christian Church, where, in the past, she served on the Board of Deacons. Martha Jane was born Bonham, Texas, to Martha Weaver and William P. Claypool on August 3, 1913 and moved with her family to Houston, Texas, in 1922. Her father was a druggist, and died when she was young. She helped her mother with students at the music school where her mother, who was an organist at the church, taught piano. She attended Rice...
Martha Jane Claypool Smith, retired Central Intelligence Officer and amateur artist, died peacefully in her home in McLean, Virginia, on July 11, 2014, at the age of 100. She was a long-time member of the National City Christian Church, where, in the past, she served on the Board of Deacons.
Martha Jane was born Bonham, Texas, to Martha Weaver and William P. Claypool on August 3, 1913 and moved with her family to Houston, Texas, in 1922. Her father was a druggist, and died when she was young. She helped her mother with students at the music school where her mother, who was an organist at the church, taught piano. She attended Rice University, where she majored in French and studied French history and literature. Elected to the honorary society Phi Beta Kappa in 1933, she graduated with distinction in 1934 and received her Master's degree in 1938.
In 1943, she moved to Washington D.C., joining the Cryptanalysis Section of the Federal Bureau of Investigation until the end of World War II, at which time she transferred to the Department of State. Her assignment was to the Foreign Correlation Sections, where she was assigned to follow the possible resurgence of various prominent Nazi activities in Latin America.
Whe the Central Intelligence Agency was established in 1947, she joined the Latin American section, with the same goal of monitoring possible Nazi/German subversion. Although this particular threat became less pressing, she remained with the Latin American section, becoming desk chief to different countries throughout her career. In connection with her Washington duties, she frequently traveled to the countries under her jurisdiction for inspections and to give guidance as needed. She was awarded the Career Achievement medal by the agency in 1974.
After her retirement from government service in 1973, she joined the first group of docents assisting at the newly opened Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art in Washington DC, She studied painitng and was active among arts groups in the area, She was also active in her local community, and served as president and secretary of the Franklin Park Women's Club.
In 1978, Martha Jane married Captain Charles E. Smith, USN (Ret.), and together they traveled widely and extensively, in particular after Charles' retirement from the University of Virginia's program in Quantico. Most often, they traveled to France, because of Martha Jane's expertise in the language and culture of the country. Their travels have taken them all over the world, including expeditions north of the Arctic Circle, where Charles was offered the chance to study flying conditions in extremely cold weather. She was also an avid gardener, and she and Charles always had a bountiful supply of fruits and vegetables, as well as raspberry preserves, which they generously gave as gifts to their friends and family.
She was the loving stepmother of Sheryl and Deborah, Charles' daughters from a previous marriage. She was also the loving grandmother to Ashley and Arielle Chapin, daughters of Sheryl and her husband John Chapin.

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Washington Post
  MARTHA JANE CLAYPOOL SMITH   (Age 100)   Peacefully at her home on Friday, July 11, 2014. Loving wife of the late Capt....

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