Hilary Ellen Smith Cambron, a friendly, endlessly creative, and curious spirit, passed away gently at Emerald Ridge Care Center here in Asheville earlier this month. Parkinson’s disease took her from her loving daughter, sister, and three brothers.
Likely it was cold that December day in Rochester, New York 70 years ago when Hilary was born into the warmth and embrace of her loving family; her mother, Dr. Barbara Wood, her father, Harris Smith, a WWII veteran and printer, and her sister.
Soon after her birth the family relocated to Asheville where her three brothers followed her into the world. In the years to come, they would follow their sisters through elementary school at St. Eugene’s, now Asheville Catholic School, and into high school.
After graduating from Asheville Catholic High School, Hilary began her formal education at NC State University in Raleigh. In the midst of her studies her family moved west to Oregon. After first joking “…isn’t Oregon in the middle of the country with the other “O” states?” (…Ohio, Oklahoma) she followed and continued her journalism studies and graduated from Oregon State University.
The adventure of life brought her back to North Carolina for a few years before she returned to Portland, Oregon for her professional career and family life. Her daughter Lydia, a gifted designer now living and working in New York City, was born there.
Hilary created a family home filled with all manner of creative pursuits. She was an indomitable “do it yourself” role model for her talented, growing daughter with a range of projects from sewing to confident home remodeling.
Hilary was also dedicated to her parents who had retired to the Portland area. After their deaths she returned to her North Carolina roots and resettled in Asheville some 7 years ago. Hilary’s natural warmth and spirit allowed her to make new acquaintances in her “old home town,” renew her bond with others, and spend time with her sister and brother-in-law.
Hilary’s last adventure began March 9th after her last two, tender, little breaths and a single tiny tear. Seventy glorious years and then someone great was gone. Hilary is survived her daughter Lydia Cambron, of New York, her sister Miegan Gordon of Asheville and her brothers Jesse Smith of Portland, Jeffrey Smith of Seattle and Joshua Smith of Los Angeles.
Our family would like to thank the staff of Emerald Ridge Rehabilitation and Care Center and Four Seasons Hospice Care for their loving care of Hilary and the Asheville Parkinson’s Support Group. Arrangements are being handled by Asheville Area Alternative Funeral & Cremation Services, though no public viewing or visitation is planned.
No memorial service is planned at this time; we intend to celebrate Hilary later this year when we can gather safely. If you would like us to send you information, please send a note to: Hilarysmithcambron@gmail.com
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