Wilda Maxine Smith, 96, died Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Hays Medical Center.


She was born May 17, 1924, in Gove County to Corwin and Mable (Roberts) Smith. During World War II., she had just graduated from high school and had no teacher training she was pressed into teaching, including one year in the one-room school where she had been a student. After the war, she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at Fort Hays Kansas State College. Her master’s thesis was The Struggle for Woman Suffrage in Kansas. Later she received her Ph.D. in history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


She taught history at Hays High School from 1953 to 1957 and later she taught history at Fort Hays State University for 26 years, serving as chairperson of the History Department for five years.


She served on the Kansas Committee for the Humanities, the Coordinating Council of the National Women’s Studies Association, the Executive Committee of the Kansas Council for Social Studies, and the Board of Directors of the Kansas State Historical Society.


The biography of a native Kansan, The Wars of Peggy Hull: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent, which she co-authored with Eleanor Bogart, received the C.L. Sonnichhsen Book Award from Texas Western Press.


Survivors include sister-in-law, Marita Smith, Broomfield, Colo.; Norma and Quentin Bogart, Mesa, Ariz.; and numerous nieces and nephews.


She was preceded in death by her parents; her long time companion, Eleanor Bogart; a sister, Vivian Beougher; and eight brothers, Marion, Raymond, Kenneth, Carl, Francis, Don, Darrell and Corwin, Jr.


Because of the corona virus, there will be a family graveside service.


Memorials are suggested to Fort Hays State University.


Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory, 2509 Vine, Hays, KS 67601, is in charge of arrangements