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Welcome to the memorial page for

Lena K. Smith

September 28, 1939 ~ November 30, 2017 (age 78)

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SERVICES

Visitation
Thursday
December 14, 2017

2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church
6556 Park Ridge Blvd
San Diego, CA 92120

Funeral Mass
Thursday
December 14, 2017

3:30 PM
St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church
6556 Park Ridge Blvd
San Diego, CA 92120


Lena Kathryn Smith was born on September  28, 1939 in San Antonio, Texas. She was raised by her family members AR and Mattie Jernigan. Throughout her life, Lena was a faithful member of Mount Zion First Baptist Church in San Antonio.

 Lena studied at Ursaline Academy, an all-girls Catholic School, for her elementary education. For high school she attended St. Peter Claver Catholic High School, where she made history as the first African American student. As a young girl, she was heavily involved with the Girl Scouts as a Camp Counselor. The opportunity to mentor young women struck a cord in Lena, and going forward she always sought to be an inspiration

and a guide to other women. During high school she was involved with the NAACP, becoming a Freedom Rider to seek an end to racial segregation.

Lena loved learning and would constantly seek to gain more knowledge and absorb what she read, saw and heard. She had a grace and dignity that was hard to match and could speak in front of a crowd with such eloquence that people took notice. With her gift of oratory she was involved in many linguistic competitions while in High School. She graduated St. Peters as the salutatorian of her class. The experience of sisterhood and shared community inspired her to apply for and win a scholarship called the "Ms. Blue Revue" by Zeta Phi Beta (ΖΦΒ), Sorority, Inc. Lena was a debutante and made her debut in the 1958-59 season.

Lena attended Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. She pledged the Delta Chapter of ΖΦΒ. Becoming a Zeta Woman was one of Lena’s proudest moments; she understood that this was a direct way to serve others and build community among women.

Lena studied Biology/Medical Technology as a Pre Medical student. After graduation Lena went to Denver, Colorado to do an internship under the auspice of University of Denver with St. Joseph Hospital, after which she returned to Texas.

In Texas, Lena continued to be an active member of the church and worked within the community of San Antonio. In 1960, she met Ralph Emory Hughes at Mt. Zion and their combined love formed a special union. He proposed, after asking her father for his blessing, and they got married in the summer of 1961. Shortly after marrying, they moved to Ralph’s hometown of Bakersfield, California, to open their own business together as husband and wife. It was named Valley Clinical Labs, and represented the hard work of two medical professionals combining forces for the greater good. Lena and Ralph soon bore two handsome boys together: Brian Andrew Hughes and Brent David Hughes.

In Bakersfield, Lena attended Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church with her family. Always an active member, she worked to bring youth programming to the church so her young sons could be frequent participants. Noticing the lack of youth leadership programming in Bakersfield, she started the Black History Pageant with

Erma Dean Carson. Ralph and Lena were also very involved in the March of Dimes.  

 

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