This is the first page of the new Genealogy Section on my site. I've been intending to do one for some time, but have not had the time, or to be more correct, have not made the time.

My Mom's death this past week set me to looking through all the old photos, and since I have a few days, I decided that now is a good time to start the section. What better person to begin with than Mom's Page. Her love of Genealogy is the reason I have all of the family photos and info in the first place.

For her "Story", I have expanded on a one page synopsis of her life that was used to introduce her to her caregivers after she no longer could remember her own history. It gave them a sense of who she was before she lost her memory. They were better able to see her as a real person instead of just someone who was in the last stages of dementia. She used to love to have it read to her.

Pages and photos and more information will be added in the days ahead. This week everything is growing by leaps and bounds. As is usually the case, all I needed was an excuse to get this project underway and then it practically develops itself.  -- Barb Biffle, March 31, 2003

Questions on this Page?? E-Mail Me!

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Pauline Smith Biffle
February 17, 1909 -- March 29, 2003

Pauline's Story

Click on a picture to open a larger version in a new window

1909 with her nurse Bessie Scott

1909 With her mother, Grace McKinley Smith

Late in 1909

1911 age 2

1912 age 3 1/2

Summer of 1916 with her pinto horse Beauty. The house in the background is where she was born and lived till fall of 1917

Pauline on the right with Mary Summers-May Day 1918

L-R, Mary Summers, Pauline Smith, Grace Lowry, Lorraine Satterfield 1919

Winter of 1921

Pauline on the right with Mary Summers at college in Maryville, MO, 1928

Elkhorn School 1936
no other ID on photo

Elkhorn School 1937
no other ID on photo


1940 Atticus Lafayette Biffle, Jr.

1940- location unknown, taken during a trip to California

Beta Sigma Phi Breakfast Club 1943
This group was comprised of single gals and ladies whose husbands were away fighting in WWII. They would meet on a regular basis for breakfast in their robes and play cards.

L-R...Back row: Frances Miller, Martha Mae Holmes, Esther Knittl; 2nd Row: Genevieve R--nier (not sure of name), Pauline Smith, Gladys Cook, Margaret Fisher; Front Row: Marjorie Miller, Madgel Pennisten

Baiting up at Quartz Creek with friend Sam Davis
Floating Gardens of Xoxomilco 1945

Mom's new friend Herr Rudiger and Mexican painter Jose Clemente Orozco 1945

1945 - photo taken during trip to Mexico
  In the future, other photos of ancestors will be added, as well as genealogical info    

Questions on this Page?? E-Mail Me!


Violet Pauline Smith Biffle was born on Feb. 17, 1909, in Mercer County, MO.  Her father, Dr. Norris Allen Smith, delivered her at their home. She was the oldest of two children born to Dr. Smith and his wife, the former Grace McKinley of Mercer County, MO. Pauline's brother William was born 11 years later. Mom was named Violet after a best friend of her mother. Mom always hated that name, so she went by Pauline all her life, and even had her Social Security changed to show her name as Pauline Smith Biffle, but legally, she's probably still Violet.

She grew up around Princeton and Lineville, MO, attended country schools and received her teaching certificate from Northwest Missouri State Normal School (now Northwest Missouri State University) in 1929. She taught in country schools around Maryville, MO, through 1937. She then moved to Kansas City where she worked at Macy's Department Store and the Charge-A-Plate Company (the first credit card company in KC-used metal charge plates) for a couple of years before returning to Maryville to assist her mother Grace McKinley Smith in the formation of the Maryville Mutual Aid Association. Her mother had been widowed when Dr. Smith was killed in a car-train accident and grandmother moved to Maryville to make a new start by forming the insurance company. Pauline ran the office and her mother traveled in Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri, selling insurance policies. During this time Pauline was active in Beta Sigma Phi, Soroptimist, and several other ladies organizations in Maryville. She also assisted in the war effort by volunteering as a Red Cross Nurse's Aid during WWII. 

In 1945, she journeyed to Mexico on vacation with a couple of friends. Her friends left for home after a few weeks, but Pauline stayed on for more than a month longer, traveling and sightseeing, and staying with Mexican families whom she met. During her extended stay she was chaperoned around Mexico City by no less than the German Embassy representative, Herr Rudolph Rudiger. He seemed quite happy, she said, to be in Mexico where it was safe. He also wrote to her after she returned to the states. She saved the letters and now they seem unique because they were opened and read by the war censors during the time. While in Mexico she even got to meet and take pictures of the painter, Jose Clemente Orozco. Quite an adventure for a single gal during the war years! 

In  June of 1949, she married A. L. Biffle, Jr., who was the manager of a men's clothing store in Maryville, MO. (and 6 years younger). They had dated off and on for almost 10 years prior to their marriage. They lived in Kansas City, MO for a brief time after their marriage before returning to Maryville. In November of 1950, their daughter, Barbara was born. Pauline continued to work with her mother until 1964 when her mother suffered a stroke while on a business trip. Grace never recovered from the stroke enough to continue with the business and it was eventually sold to a company in Iowa that is still in operation.  

During this time Pauline developed a fascination with genealogy. She collected a good sized library of resources and began to do research for others who were searching for their ancestors…long before the TV series, "Roots", made this a national obsession and the Internet made it easier to do the research. She was admitted to the Nodaway Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and worked her way up through the offices to become Regent of the Chapter. She served as Motion Picture Chairman for the Missouri State Society of NSDAR, and occasionally co-taught courses in genealogy for adults at the local community college with her friend, Belva Geist. 

She was also active in local women's political organizations in Maryville. Her husband was active politically and ran successful county campaigns for a number of Senate and gubernatorial candidates in Missouri over the years. As a result of his political work, he was offered a job as an auditor for the State of Missouri Revenue Department - Motor Fuels Division in the late 1960's. He was based in Maryville, but frequently traveled all over the US to do field audits. Pauline accompanied him on many of these trips and continued her genealogical work in the various locales while he did the audits.  

Other interests during this time were flower gardening, collecting antique furniture and cut glass, reading, and playing bridge several times a week. Her favorite sport to watch was always baseball. She said it was because she used to date a fellow from her hometown named Gerald "Kid" Bryan who was a major league baseball player for a short period of time.  

In 1991, she became concerned that she was having memory problems, so she and her husband visited Lincoln, NE, where her daughter lived, to be examined at Lincoln General Hospital's Memory Disorders Clinic, which was fairly new at the time. She  continued to be seen by them on a regular basis since that time. She was diagnosed with dementia, but not Alzheimer's.  That diagnosis did not change over the years, and although she initially responded well to medication (Aricept), her mental abilities continued to decline. This was due in large part to anesthetic as a result of two elective surgeries for total hip replacements in 1995 and 1996 and a broken leg in 1999.  (She had moved to Lincoln in June of 1995, after the death of her husband.) 

In spite of her failing memory she always maintained her sense of humor and was likely to come up with a line to knock your socks off sometimes! She loved a good joke and had a real mischievous streak. Her outlook on life was positive. She was often heard to say, "It's better to laugh than to cry", and "That's the best I ever had".

During the last year of her life she was somewhat limited in her mobility due to osteoarthritis and a propensity for falling. She used a wheelchair much of the time and just scooted it along with her feet wherever she wanted to go. She also was unable to recognize family and old friends' names and pictures. However, she still connected to the picture of her Dad above her bed, and seemed to enjoy her day to day existence

On Monday, March 24, she was fine. Tuesday morning she was unresponsive and she peacefully slept away the rest of the week before passing away at 12:10 am, Saturday, March 29, 2003. Although the doctor had authorized comfort measures in case she seemed to be in pain, she never needed them. She died listening to tapes of Nat King Cole and the Mills Brothers.

As a firm believer in reincarnation all her life, she was always fascinated to find out in what form she would return. We all should know soon. The next time you see a twinkle in a friendly pair of eyes, it just might be Mom! Another good reason to treat all life with respect.

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Pauline in Lincoln, NE  1995-2003    

87th Birthday Dinner

Mom at her 91st
Birthday Party
Feb. 2000

Which twin
has the Toni?

Christmas 2000

Christmas 2000

Christmas 2001
Mom & Cousin Catherine

Mom at my house
April 2002

Photo taken 2003

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