Obituary of Millicent Smailes
Mary Millicent Smailes passed away peacefully in her home at The Oaks in Denville on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Better known as Millicent she was 106 years old and a resident of Denville since 1959.
She was born and raised in Blakely, PA. Her parents were William and Stella Abbott. She was the oldest of four children and spent much of her teen years caring for her younger siblings, William, Earl and Marylyn, as her mother was obliged to work. She graduated from Blakely High School and despite the Great Depression she found work in a local market. Given the conditions of the depression she continued to live at home and help her parents.
During this time, she met and married George S. Smailes from nearby Dickson City, PA. He was a young career-minded US Navy seaman already with several years’ experience, including a two-year tour of duty on the Yangtze River in China in the 1930’s. The young couple married in April, 1941 and moved to his duty station of Key West, Florida. Their time in this Caribbean paradise was abruptly ended by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor only six months after their wedding.
George S. Smailes was transferred to a Navy destroyer fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Millicent saw her husband only sparingly during the war. They were able to live together in San Diego while his ship was repaired of war damage and again in Norfolk, VA as her husband was assigned to help train a new destroyer’s crew.
After the war the couple were transferred to the US Naval Base at Subic in the Philippines. Millicent was on the very first ship bringing American wives to join their husbands in 1947. Their only child would be born in Subic later that year. The family moved to Portsmouth, RI for George’s retirement assignment in 1956. The couple built a house and settled in the Union Hill section of Denville in 1959. Millicent began a new career in banking and eventually became a successful bank officer for Chase Bank in Denville, where she remained until retirement in 1979.
Millicent was a very active member of Union Hill Presbyterian Church. She enjoyed travel and made long annual visits with her expanding family first in Germany and France and finally Italy. Widowed in 2005 she moved to The Oaks in Denville in 2006.
Millicent is survived by her son George his wife, Margarete (nee Gaye) Smailes, two granddaughters Emily Jaguello (and husband Dimitri) and Chloe Smailes, three great grandchildren (Emma, Oscar and Zoe) and numerous nephews and nieces.
Public Visitation will be held on Monday, November 20th from 9 – 11 am at Norman Dean Home for Services, 16 Righter Avenue, Denville. Funeral Service will begin promptly at 11 am. Interment will follow at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ. Please leave a condolence, light a candle, and share your favorite memory of Millicent here to continue to celebrate her life and let her light shine. Memorial Donations are being accepted in Millicent's memory to Union Hill Presbyterian Church by way of www.inmemof.org to ensure receipt of your donation.
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