Maren Smith, step-sister of one of my best friends, JD. Shaffer, and sister of one of my good friends, Josh Smith, died late Friday night of cancer. She was a year younger than JD. and me, and left behind two boys, ages 3 and 7. Maren had Neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition which causes numerous tumors, though they're usually benign. She underwent chemotherapy, and numerous surgeries in an attempt to stop the cancer, even enduring the amputation of one of her legs, and a portion of her pelvis, but it simply spread too fast to be contained. As I was looking up the obituary information today in the Mason City paper, I noticed that there were several others listed who'd died of cancer, but they were all in their 70s or 80s, not 27.


MASON CITY — Maren K. Smith, 27, of 88 Country Circle, died Friday (June 11, 2004) at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit.

Funeral services will be held 1 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 213 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, with the Rev. James M. Magelssen officiating. Interment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, and continue one hour before services at the church.

Memorials may be given to the Maren K. Smith Memorial Fund.

Maren was born August 26, 1976, in Galesburg, Ill., the daughter of Douglas and Kathryn L. (Hanson) Smith. She graduated from Mason City High School in 1995.

Maren worked for APEC and Ron Weber & Associates for five years. She received her degree from North Iowa Area Community College in 2003 and was currently employed by Principal Financial.

In August of 2003 Maren was diagnosed with cancer. Her two children, DeArzae and Autry, inspired her, giving her the strength and courage to battle her cancer. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church.

Maren is survived by her two children, DeArzae Smith and Autry Allen of Mason City; mother, Kathryn L. Shaffer and husband, Larry, of Ventura; father, Douglas Smith, and wife, Mary, of Madison, Wis,; brother, Joshua C. Smith of Minneapolis, Minn.; grandmothers, Lorene A. Hanson of Mason City and Margie Smith of Santa Rosa, Calif.; step-brother, J D. Shaffer of Minneapolis, Minn,; step-sister, Jennifer Fasnacht and husband, Stephen, of Monticello; many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Maren’s sister, Kristin L. Smith; uncle, Philip Hanson; grandfathers, the Rev. Lavern R. Hanson, Loren Smith and uncle, Dean Smith precede her in death.

Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, (641) 423-0924.