1927 Isabella 2021

Isabella Carr Leighton Smythe

March 5, 1927 — July 1, 2021

Run 7/11/2021Post and Courier with photoIsabella Carr Smythe1927 - 2021Isabella Carr Smythe, Polly, an outstanding mother of five sons, and the devoted wife of Cheves Smythe, died on Thursday, July 1, 2021. She died peacefully after a brief illness. She was pre-deceased by her husband and her brother Delmar (Tim). There will be a joint memorial service for Polly and Cheves on October 16th at Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston.Isabella Carr Leighton was born March 5, 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the only daughter and oldest child of George Delmar Leighton and Isabella Carr Leighton. She graduated from the Windsor School in 1945 and from Vassar College in 1949. While at Windsor, she met her future husband, Cheves McCord Smythe, then at the Harvard Medical School. They were married in Harvard Memorial Church on August 12, 1949, immediately after her graduation from Vassar.During her husband's training and early career, they lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and New York City. Her first two sons were born during this time. In 1955, they moved to Charleston, South Carolina, her husband's home, where he joined the faculty of the Medical College of South Carolina and they had three more sons.In 1966, they relocated to Chicago and then, in 1970, to Houston, Texas, where they lived for 43 years. Cheves was the founding dean of the University of Texas at McGovern Medical School and Polly was an unflagging ally in charming faculty recruits and welcoming them to Houston. In the 1980s, they repeated this performance in Karachi, Pakistan, where Cheves was the founding dean of the Aga Khan University Medical College, again with able back up from Polly. During her time in Karachi she started a shop in which local women could sell their crafts.In 2013, they moved back to Charleston, to take up residence in the Bishop Gadsden retirement community, where they were re-united with many old Charleston friends and made many new ones.Polly was athletic, a golfer, an excellent tennis player and a figure skater from when she was a girl until well into her 70s. She enjoyed opera and ballet, taking special pleasure in hosting various daughters-in-law and grandchildren at both. She also loved spending time at her summer home in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, where she had many friends dating back to her childhood.Polly is survived by her brother, Andrew Leighton, five sons, Alexander Cheves Smythe (Donna), James Leighton Smythe, MD (Daisy), Augustine Thomas Smythe II (Katie), Daniel Thompson Smythe (Ros) and St. Julien Ravenel Smythe (Lori), 14 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She is the rock on which our family stands.Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel. A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Starts at 10:00am

Second Presbyterian Church

342 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

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Second Presbyterian Churchyard

342 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

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