It is with deep sadness that the family of Heather (MacLaggan) Smith announces her death, which occurred on Sunday, June 30th, in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia after a brief illness. Born in Peterborough, Ontario, she was the younger daughter of Isabel (Archibald) MacLaggan of Bathurst and the late James Coburn MacLaggan. She was the wife of the late Eric Smith, originally of McAdam.
As an infant, Heather moved to Bathurst with her family where she spent most of her life. Upon retirement, she settled in Pictou County, Nova Scotia on the Northumberland Strait. After graduation from Bathurst High School, she earned bachelors and masters degrees in education from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Her fields of interest and accomplishment embraced elementary and inclusive education enhanced by her specialty in literacy.
Heather served her 34-year career as an elementary school teacher in McAdam, Bathurst, and Belledune, then as principal in Janeville for many years. Heather received national recognition being the only New Brunswick educator named by the Learning Partnership as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2011. She completed her career as president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association followed by president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation in Ottawa.
Heather’s patience has always been highlighted as the driving force behind her every success, as she was modest but steadfast in her accomplishments and gregarious and selfless with her many friendships. She truly believed that building relationships was fundamental in making a real difference. Heather cared deeply about providing comprehensive services for students with high needs whether they were at risk for physical, emotional, or situational reasons.
In 1991, her intense interest in the importance of early childhood education led her to accept a position when New Brunswick introduced the kindergarten program in public school. This intensity guided her to become a summer camp teacher and kindergarten team leader in Beijing, China in 2010. Upon retirement, she was employed in the kindergarten program in Abu Dhabi when the sudden illness of her husband of 34 years required they return to Canada in 2017.
Together Heather and Eric strongly supported performing arts and directed many musical productions with proceeds donated to charity. Heather was an active United Church member in Bathurst, and more recently in Pictou.
Besides her mother, she is survived by a son Dr. Joshua Smith (Tiara Folkes) of Ottawa; two daughters Erika Smith (Jordan Wilson) of New Glasgow, and Torey Smith (Danny Carson) of Fredericton; a brother Donald MacLaggan (Janet) of Bathurst, and a sister Nancy McKay (Don) of Fredericton as well as many members of a close extended family.
Visitation will be Friday, July 5th, 2019 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at Elhatton’s Funeral Home. Funeral service will be held at First United Church on Saturday, July 6th, 2019 at 11am. Internment will be at the West Bathurst Cemetery where she will be next to her loving husband and her father.
Donations in Heather’s memory can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, the Ghana Rural Integrated Development (GRID) health team, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
The family also wishes to express gratitude to the palliative care team at Aberdeen Hospital, New Glasgow, NS and family members whose care and attention allowed Heather to be in her home watching the working boats, beautiful sunsets and listening to the waves hit the sandy shore.