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Published: Saturday, 2/2/2008

Perrysburg High grad sought to help others

Lesley Elizabeth Smith, 22, formerly of Perrysburg, a graduate student pursuing a career in mental health counseling, died Wednesday in her home in Cincinnati.

A cause of death has not yet been determined for Ms. Smith, who had a mild form of epilepsy that required medication and had a seizure over the Christmas holidays, her parents, Douglas and Wanda Smith, said.

"We had no inclination at all that this was a life-threatening" condition, Mr. Smith said.

Ms. Smith, who graduated fourth in her class from Perrysburg High School in 2003, was a graduate student in the University of Cincinnati's mental health counseling program. She had just started working with children and was especially interested in that area of mental health, Mrs. Smith said.

A 2007 graduate of the University of Dayton, where she received bachelors' degrees in psychology and Spanish, Ms. Smith wanted to pursue a career where she could help others, Mr. Smith said.

"She was just so unique and full of life," Mrs. Smith said. "She just had such a passion for helping others."

Born March 13, 1985, in Cleveland, Ms. Smith had been engaged since September to Brian Baker of Cincinnati.

They met while working on the University of Dayton's campus public safety rescue squad, for which she was certified as an emergency medical technician and did scheduling for 45 students.

The couple planned to wed on July 11, 2009, and they and their families recently selected and reserved a room at Nazareth Hall near Grand Rapids, Ohio, for the occasion.

Mrs. Smith and her younger daughter, Lauren M., had gone to watch Ms. Smith pick out a wedding gown.

"We all liked the same one," Mrs. Smith said.

"I'm so grateful I had that opportunity."

Ms. Smith studied in France and Italy, and she backpacked through Europe with a college roommate.

She also traveled to rural southern Mexico with the University of Dayton's campus ministry team, and she took a trip to California to work on an organic farm.

Surviving are her parents, Douglas and Wanda; sister, Lauren M., and grandparents, Harry and Doris Mauk and Dale and Mary Jean Smith.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg, where services will be at 11 a.m. Monday.

The family suggests tributes to the University of Dayton's public safety rescue squad.



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