Brooklyn resident Marjorie Parker Smith, a member of the first official US ice dancing championship team and an inductee in the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2009, passed away in her sleep at her home. She was 92.
Parker Smith, who skated initially in a pair of borrowed skates from a former Norwegian figure skater, and her ice dancing partner, Joseph Savage, are being inducted posthumously into the hall of fame in the “Golden” category at the 2009 AT&T US Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Parker Smith and Savage won the first “official” US ice dancing title in 1936 and followed that with a silver medal in ice dancing at the 1937 US Championships representing the Skating Club of New York.
With partner Howard Meredith, Parker Smith captured the 1936 US pairs bronze medal. She further showed her versatility by winning the gold medal at the fours competition in 1939, skating with George Boltres, and Nettie Prantell and Joseph Savage. She would have been eligible for the 1936 Olympic Winter Games in two events; however, ice dancing was not a medal event until 1976, and the pairs event had only two spots that year.
When asked about her favorite discipline, Parker Smith said, “Pairs skating does more for you than other forms of skating. You must have strong arms to do the lifts.”
Parker Smith was asked by Roy Shipstad to join the “Ice Follies” after her amateur career, but she chose instead to attend college and raise five children, one of whom also competed in ice dancing. When one of her children started teaching gymnastics, she got involved, and she started running at 69 after two of her other children took up the sport.
Up to the time of her passing, Parker Smith continued to participate in yoga weekly at a nearby senior center. Her resume also includes being the World indoor track and field record holder for the 600-yard dash (1984) and 300-yard dash (1985) in the 70-74 age bracket.
Parker Smith shared her philosophy on life: “You just don’t stop. You have to keep on going. Physically, maybe you can’t, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t try.”
Parker Smith was the lady skater in the 1980s movie “Splash.” She volunteered with WABC’s “Call for Action,” a public advocacy service that helps troubleshoot callers’ problems. Marjorie, was a life member and member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Old Brooklynites.
A wake was held at the Joseph Duffy Funeral Home and the funeral was held at Brooklyn’s Saint Saviors Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame, 20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.