Maria Victoria Geollegue Smith came from a big family of ten siblings,three boys and seven girls. Her parents both teachers and education was a priority in their household. They are all professionals and successful in their own career
Maria was an honor student since elementary to college. She graduated in CL Montelibano Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Bacolod City Negros Occ. Philippines. She completed her BSN in Riverside Medical College in 1980. After graduation she worked as private duty nurse . In 1983 she was recruited by New York City Health and Hospital Corporation and worked in Sea view Hospital and home in Staten Island. She got certified in Gerontology in Nursing and became the Director of Nursing Education at Golden gate Nursing Home. She moved to New Jersey to join with her sister and met her husband William Smith. They got married in 1989. She worked as the Assistant Director of Nursing in Leader Manor Care and Rehab Center. She later on worked at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Pennsylvania, eventually transferring to Taylor Hospital when Sacred Heart hospital closed. After her daughter was born, she worked in Kennedy Hospital in 1994 in Intensive care unit and Emergency Room on weekends.
She was awarded as the Employee of the quarter in 1997. She was given an Honor and Achievement award in Recognition for Outstanding Performance and commitment to excellence.
She was at the top of her Nursing career when a terrible car accident took everything from her. She sustained a Traumatic brain injury and suffered severe cognitive impairments and memory loss. Her ability to do multi-tasking which was her greatest asset as a nurse is gone. Her difficulty with numbers was the greatest factor that had hinders her from returning to her Nursing job. The intelligent and smart woman as known many of her friends and family had become an empty, confused forgetful woman. She can hardly follow simply task and remember simple direction. Her safety was a concern when she forgets to turn off oven, stove and water and above all forgetting things.
The walking encyclopedia mind had become an empty mind ready to relearn things again. So don’t be surprise if you didn’t get return call or a phone call from her she might have left it in someone answering machine. Some of you have 3 invitations and others might have not received it because she wrote address. But in spite of her disabilities, Maria never given up she continue to relearn things to adopt to use of adaptive tools and devices to function independently and safely.
While still undergoing therapies she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgeries, treatments had not weighed her down; her strong belief in God had given her the strength and the purpose in her life. She is always thankful and appreciates every accomplishments, struggles and victories that had come along her way. She had dedicated her life in helping and caring, for people. She had sponsored several scholarships to her nieces and nephews and some deserving poor students. Some of her scholars are now priests, Nurses, Commerce graduate, Agriculturist, Veterinary graduates and police officers.
She believes that education is the greatest wealth a person can have.It can never be stolen, taken away. The only request she asked from her scholars is to do the same. Send someone to college without expecting anything but to continue to carry on her legacy. She finished her Nursing education with so many struggles the pain was unbearable but both her parents and her family never gave up on each other.
That’s the reason why they are all 10 professionals in her poor family. Her house is the Ellis Island of New York and the grand central station as she helped new comers from Philippines come to live with them until they can live on their own. She took care of sick people in her house whether a family member a friend or a baby and a child they like to be with Maria when they are sick. She is the true image of Florence Nightingale. Her presence and her encouragement have given hopes to the desperate and hopeless.