Local Real Estate Leader Ruth Smith Passes Away
Ruth K. Smith, one of the first successful women in the real estate industry in Luzerne County, died Monday after a brief illness. She was 85.
Smith, from Harveys Lake and West Pittston, worked in the real estate business for more than 50 years and founded Ruth K. Smith Real Estate in 1975.
She joined Century 21 in 1978. Today, it is the Century 21 Smith Hourigan Group with locations in Shavertown, Fairview Twp. and Kingston and 65 agents.
She was born in Hanover Twp. and graduated from Hanover Area High School and formerly worked as a store manager for S&H Green Stamps before she got into the real estate business, according to her son Kevin Smith.
Her son Kevin joined her in the real industry in 1980. She was partners with him and David P. Hourigan and later sold the company to them. On her website, she said she still listed and sold real estate because she enjoyed it.
“She was a leader and an inspiration for women,” Kevin Smith said. “Many women interested in the real estate business said they got into the business because of my mom. She was one of the first women in the real estate business. She cared about people. She worked hard to make sure people found the right houses. She treated people fairly.”
Carol Leighton Gray, executive director of the Luzerne County Association of Realtors, said Smith always lived life to the fullest.
Smith served on different committees and as former director of the board of the Luzerne County Association of Realtors.
“She was very well-respected and loved by everyone who knew her,” Leighton Gray said. “She was a trailblazer in the industry. She was one of the first women who became licensed.”
When Smith joined the real estate business, Leighton Gray said there weren’t many women in it and “she was a mentor to many young women along the way.”
“Her door was always open. She was very welcoming and fun,” Leighton Gray said. “She would light up the room or event when she would arrive. She was a great lady. She was loved by all.”
Smith was affiliated with banking and served on the Wachovia Board for six years.
On her website for Century 21 Smith Hourigan Group, Smith said real estate and customer service always were his passion.
Her interests were her three children, six grandchildren and golf. She was preceded in death by her husband Olin C. Smith Sr.
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