Cover photo for Dr. Constance J. "Connie" Smith's Obituary
Dr. Constance J. "Connie" Smith Profile Photo
1950 Dr. constance j. 2017

Dr. Constance J. "Connie" Smith

July 1, 1950 — September 15, 2017

Dr. Constance Jean “Connie” Smith, 67, of Flagstaff, Arizona, formerly of Elm Creek, Nebraska, died Friday, September 15, 2017, at her home in Flagstaff. She was born July 1, 1950, in Kearney, Nebraska, to Ronald and Eileen (Buettner) Smith. She attended school in Elm Creek Public Schools and graduated with the class of 1968. She particularly enjoyed her participation in volleyball, softball, band, choir, and student government. Connie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Kearney State College (KSC) in 1979, where she received the “Outstanding Senior in Psychology” Award. Her undergraduate mentor at KSC was Dr. Kenneth Nikels. In 1980, Connie entered the Ph.D. program in Expermental Psychology at Texas Tech University where she specialized in Physiological Psychology and Neuroscience. She earned her Doctorate Degree in 1985 from Texas Tech University. The faculty in the Department of Psychology recognized her academic and research accomplishments by awarding her the Department’s Andreychuk Leadership Award and students in her classes honored her teaching efforts by awarding her the “Psi Chi Teacher of the Year Award”. Her doctoral mentor was Dr. Vernon J. Perez. Upon completion of her Ph.D. she competed for and was awarded a National Institute of Health Post-doctoral Fellowship for two years, in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the Health Sciences School of Medicine where she conducted research. For her research accomplishments, she was awarded a “Young Investigator Travel” award by the Endocrine Society. She was published in several professional journals. Her research was recognized nationally as representing a definitive body of knowledge. Upon finishing her post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Smith was hired as an Assistant Professor at the East Tennessee University Department of Psychology in Johnson City, TN. While there she also served as an adjunct Assistant Professor of Physiology in the Quillen Disher College of Medicine. (1987-1989). In 1989, she was hired as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Northern Arizona University in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She was appointed to the rank of Full Professor in 1998. She conducted research in brain disorders, eating disorders, and depression. She directed Masters Theses, served on both Masters and Doctoral dissertation committees, and provided a great deal of University, College, Departmental, and Community service. Many of her students have gone on to enjoy success as MD’s and Ph.D’s. Dr. Smith received numerous awards while at NAU, but the most prestigious of all was being named a Fellow in 2013, one of only one hundred worldwide and the only one from Arizona in the field of Psychological Science. She retired from NAU after twenty-seven years with the University. She was currently doing personal research in the area of Lyme Disease and how it affects the brain in an effort to find answers for a young great-niece afflicted with chronic Lyme Disease. Connie is survived by her parents: Ronald and Eileen Smith of Elm Creek, NE, her sisters and brothers: Barbara McClure (Mike Blythe) of Kellogg, IA, Martin (Denise) Smith of Lexington, NE, Lynda (Gary) Burman of Sumner, NE, Virginia (David) Klingelhoefer of Amherst, NE, Susan (Jenelle) Priest and Jacquelyn Smith of Lincoln, Nebraska, Alan (Tonya) Smith of Eddyville, NE and Laura (Ben) Martin of Elm Creek, NE. She is also survived by much loved nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her sister Rhonda and brother-in-law Jeff Maas, two sisters, Marcia and Gloria and a great nephew Lathan Smith in infancy, grandparents Edward and Ida Buettner, Mahlon and Nellie Smith, uncle Melvin Buettner, and her beloved furry companion, Nagi. Cremation was chosen. There will be a visiting time with family held at the Education Center across the street from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Elm Creek one hour prior to the service. Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, October 2, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Elm Creek, Nebraska with Reverend Alex Borzych celebrating. Inurnment will be in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery at Elm Creek. Memorials are suggested to UNK Psychology Department or Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington, Nebraska is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com.
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