BOURBON — “Home town girl loves Bourbon” could be the headline description of Eloise Smith, Grand Marshal of the 2012 Bourbon Summerfest parade scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m. in downtown Bourbon.
Selected by the Summerfest Committee as an example of community loyalty and support, Smith has been teaching at Triton Elementary School for the last 34 years, and retired at the end of this year.
Raised in Bourbon, she graduated from Triton High School in 1966. She attended college at Manchester College and received a degree in elementary education in 1970, and a master’s in education in 1983. She did not begin her teaching career here, however.
Her first job was in Defiance, Ohio, where she taught for two years. Her husband, Byron, is a computer engineer and began working on an environmental project for the University of Puerto Rico, so off they went to Puerto Rico for two years where Eloise taught part-time at a private school in Mayagues, the eighth largest city in Puerto Rico. There, she picked up enough Spanish to allow her to work later with a student at Triton who had moved recently from British Honduras.
She is a home town person, though, and at her urging, she and Byron moved back to Bourbon. From then until now, she taught at Triton Elementary every grade from second through sixth. Almost all of that time she was in a self-contained classroom. She has seen much change in education throughout her career, and has adapted to many changes coming down the pike.
Eloise enjoys playing the piano, flower gardening, knitting, and mowing grass, which she does for eight hours each week. She says it is her private reflective time. She and Byron attend the Union Center Church of the Brethren north of Nappanee, and have been there less than a year since her former church closed. She plays the piano there, and will be involved in other church work as it comes up, including possibly the Wednesday night tutoring ministry.
The Smiths have three grown children. Leon and Mark are both telecommunications specialists with wireless networks. Anna lives in Seattle and is a social worker for homeless people.
She has decided to volunteer in her retirement as opportunities and interests present themselves. This dedicated Bourbon resident is a “can do” person, making her the perfect grand marshal for the Summerfest parade: “Triton Spirit — A Can Do Community.”