Marianne Clara
Lauman Smith

BRUNSWICK – From remote villages in the jungles of Borneo to hospitals and healthcare settings across the United States, Marianne Clara Lauman Smith sought to serve and care for others through her tireless work as a nurse, while raising three children with verve and confidence. She died on May 6, 2023 in Brunswick after 84 years of life filled with family, faith, and an abiding sense of adventure.

Marianne answered President Kennedy’s call to join the Peace Corps in 1963 during its nascent days, training in Hawaii before traveling to North Borneo where she witnessed the founding of the Federation of Malaysia. She traveled by jeep and boat to reach villages where she gave life-saving tuberculosis and cholera vaccinations, health exams, and delivered a baby or two. She found time to teach in a local school when a teacher was ill and led a Girl Guide troop.

“Our type of work wasn’t designed to change the world but to just help a very poor people in a poor land, and to teach them to help themselves,” Marianne said in a front-page article in her hometown newspaper in 1965 after she returned to Hamburg, Iowa.

Born on March 7, 1939, Marianne grew up with her parents Harry and Mabel Lauman and her sister Ruth and brother Paul on a farm outside Hamburg, down a long straight dusty road past the one-room schoolhouse. She earned a box full of 4H ribbons for raising cows and pigs, and she played basketball and was valedictorian of her high school in 1957.

Marianne received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Iowa and completed graduate studies at New York University and the University of New Mexico. In 1966, she married Ralph David Smith, who she met during Peace Corps training in Hawaii. They wrote letters for two years while she was stationed half a world away in Borneo and Ralph was living in California.

Their daughter Allison was born in 1970 in Albuquerque, NM, followed by towheaded twins named Brendan and Darren in 1971. The boys were born in the Panama Canal Zone where Ralph was a lawyer working for the U.S. government.

During her long career, Marianne was an ICU nurse for critically ill patients, an occupational health nurse responsible for hundreds of workers in several factories, and a nurse for inmates on a prison farm in North Carolina.

Marianne lived her Christian faith as a member of Elon Community Church, UCC in Elon, NC and St. John’s New Mission, UCC in Burlington, NC. She served as the chair of the Mission Committee, as a deacon and member of the Search Committee, and as chair of a team that welcomed a Burmese refugee family. She crafted handmade puppets in a puppet ministry to reach children on their level.

Her daughter Allison was influenced by Marianne’s life of faith and was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. After moving to Maine, Marianne loved to watch Allison lead services as the senior minister at the Congregational Church in Cumberland, United Church of Christ.

Marianne merged her faith with a passion for social justice through her volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, Alamance Peacemakers, and on medical mission trips to Honduras. She also sparked a love for travel in her kids through long road trips across America when they slept in their van or campgrounds while crisscrossing states and visiting national parks.

Marianne was preceded in death by her parents Harry and Mabel Lauman, her former husband Ralph D. Smith, her sister Ruth Lauman, and her grandson Walden Greenleaf. She is survived by her daughter Allison C.G. Smith and husband Gregory Greenleaf, son Brendan Smith and wife Sophie Bethune, son Darren Smith and wife Mary Cussatt; brother Paul Lauman and wife Bonnie Lauman; her nieces and nephews, and grandchildren Cecelia, Molly, and Calliope Greenleaf, Skyler Smith, and Soren and Ewan Bethune Smith.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on June 10 at the Congregational Church of Cumberland, UCC at 282 Main Street, Cumberland.

In thanksgiving for Marianne’s lifelong commitment to welcoming refugees and serving others, memorial gifts may be made to:

the Congregational Church of Cumberland’s Welcoming Neighbors Fund at or to:

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland at

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