Barbara Smits, who worked at Cornell Cooperative Extension-New York City (CCE-NYC) for 29 years, died April 16 from complications of pneumonia. She was 54 years old.
Smits started her career on the Ithaca campus in 1981 while her former husband, Jimmy Smits, M.F.A. '82, was a student. She came to New York City in 1982 to work for the 4-H Program, then became executive staff assistant for the Environmental Issues Program Area. In 2004, she became assistant to the executive director of CCE-NYC.
"Barbara will be remembered for her quick smile, frequent laughter and generosity of spirit," said Brenda Tobias, director of NYC Communications. "She was a true professional. She was ever conscious of how CCE-NYC activities reflected upon Cornell University and the Ithaca campus, and she brought an extraordinary amount of humanity to her workplace."
"Barbara was both the glue and the backbone of our organization," said Donald Tobias, executive director of CCE-NYC.
Smits is survived by a son and a daughter.
The Barbara Smits Service Award has been created in her honor. Gifts can be made to Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853.