Letitia Joy Smith Gilbank
FARMINGTON -- Letitia Joy Smith Gilbank, 78, passed peacefully, in the comfort of her own home in Farmington on April 18, 2012.
She was born June 7, 1933, in Cambridge, MA, a daughter of Harry F. and Dorothy (Zeller) Smith. She attended New Vineyard schools at an early age and graduated from Gould Academy in Bethel. She continued her education at Northwestern for three years and in 1955 graduated from Farmington State Teachers’ College. She taught Head Start for many years and also served as a substitute teacher in local schools.
She was predeceased by Robert A. Knight, the father of her beloved children. On Memorial Day of 1979, she married the love of her life, Leroy Gilbank. This year marks their 33rd anniversary.
In 1979, because of Leroy’s work in the paper industry, they moved to Wisconsin, returning to Maine in 1987.
Joy was a member of Old South Congregational Church, Farmington, and was a member of the DAR, serving as Regent from 1975-1977, 1989-1991, 1994-1995 and 1999-2001 and was a member of Kappa Delta at Northwestern.
She was an active member of the Republican Party and served as a Maine State Delegate, having traveled to Detroit, Michigan, proudly in support of President Ronald Reagan. She was a faithful supporter of U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe and campaigned vigorously for her over her tenure.
As a devoted teacher, Joy was herself a lifelong learner. She enjoyed photography, stirring her intellectual curiosity in graduate level courses and taking flying lessons, nearly completing her solo flight. In her free time, she dedicated herself to helping others attain higher education by raising scholarship money for students through her involvement in DAR and the University of Maine system. Her children and grandchildren were a source of pride and joy and she considered it a blessing to watch them explore, play sports, learn, and discover their strengths.
She is survived by her husband, Leroy, of Farmington; one daughter, Dorothy “Dotti” Knight Unkles and her husband, Thomas “Ted” of Bradford, VT; one son, Karl “Skip” Knight and his wife, Kathy of Dixfield; stepchildren: Kathy Korback and her husband, Gene of Beloit, WI, Karen Hogan and her husband, Shawn of Beloit, WI and Kennth Gilbank of Ruskin, FL; nine grandchildren, Benjamin “Ben” Unkles, Kelsey Unkles, Kevin Knight, Holly Knight, Thomas Knight, Hannah Knight, Rachel Knight, Stephanie Day and Jennifer Cook; four great-grandchidlren; one brother, Fred O. Smith and his wife, Mabel of Farmington and nieces.
She was predeceased by an infant twin sister and a step-daughter-in-law, Karen Gilbank who died in 2008.