In 2007 Mary Russell Simms, daughter of Doyle Russell and Frances Smith Russell, decided she wanted to host a gathering of her mother's family, the William Franklin Smith descendants. Aware that a few of the Colorado-based Smiths were meeting each summer in Windsor, Colorado, she wanted to expand on that to include all the far-flung relatives across the nation. That huge effort culminated in a family reunion held near Oklahoma City mid-September 2008. Sixty-two attendees made the gathering a wonderful success with cousins united after years of separation. Thanks to Mary's searching out distant kin there were cousins there who had never met one another.
I would personally like to thank Mary for all the hard work she put into this study of her mother's family, for bringing us together year after year, and for accomplishing her goals of posting permanent markers on the land and publishing the results of the hearing loss study. Thank you, Mary. You persisted where others would have given up years ago. Great job!