Kathy Smith, 70, Studio Technician

Kathleen R. Smith, 70, of Winchester, died Saturday, November 5, 2016, at her home.

Miss Smith was born July 26, 1946, in Winchester; the daughter of Jack Steele Smith and Janet Largent Smith. She had worked as a Technician with WGBH in Boston and as manager of Long Acre Kennels. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church.

She is survived by her daughter, Meghan Largent Vance of Winchester; three grandchildren, David Vance and his wife Brittinei, John Vance, and Kathleen Vance; and a great-grandson, Dominic Vance; and her brother in law, Clinton Jones. She was preceded in death by her sister, Janet “Mikie” Jones.
Funeral services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 W. Cork Street, Winchester, VA 22601.

12 thoughts on “Kathy Smith, 70, Studio Technician

  1. While moonlighting to bolster my WGBH starter’s salary, I guided a weekly TV production workshop at the Victor Best Broadcasting School in Back Bay. It’s there I met the remarkable Kathy Smith. Her determination and focus bonded us immediately. Soon after she applied to join the WGBH crew. The rest is history.

    At the time, I was the fortunate young director to be assigned live monthly Boston Symphony broadcasts from Symphony Hall. We were on the air for two plus hours with a multi-camera high-profile telecast. We were on our toes. The results depended on our first class crew in the Hall and control room support.

    I asked for Kathy Smith to be my switcher (also known as the TD in the control room). It was a perfect fit. We sat together. Her calming and expert presence at the desk went beyond helping me do my job. Her musical sensibilities contributed so much to each show. A called for dissolve became a work of art. We also used special effects, live, always a challenge for the switcher.

    So we sat together for many years on mobile unit broadcasts and studio shoots. I depended on her skills, control room leadership, and setting an affectionate tone for all of us. When the Symphony Hall projects became a regular offering on PBS, with Evening at Pops and Evening at Symphony, Kathy would spend hours sharing music performances on TV. All broadcast live or live on tape.

    As my desk partner, we enjoyed getting it done. We clicked. We had our inside laughs appreciating the foibles of live TV. Always striving for perfection, Kathy saved us more than you can imagine when in haste a wrong call for a camera never intended, Kathy knew and took the right one. What a pal. What a love. I can’t believe it’s over. The hug of appreciation after a show is forever with me.

    Be at peace dear Kathy…I miss you.

    Bill Cosel

  2. I knew how extraordinary and loved Kathy was, mainly from my husband, RIck Hauser who did a lot of his best work with her (and who will be writing something as soon as I tell him this sad news.) The two things that come to mind in my short time with her was how exquisitely sensitive and responsive she was when switching a show. My background is dance, and to me, Kathy was always dancing lightly with her fingers when she worked on a program. The other thing was great advice she gave me: ” Rick loves desserts; always have them for him.” Good counsel, that I’ve been following lo’ these 42 years…

  3. Kathy was amazing. She was the best at what she did and the most quiet about it. She will always be remembered.

  4. Two things I remember most about Kathy.

    She worked on the editing of the Harvard Leonard Bernstein lectures of 1972, and always referred affectionately to her “Lenny” project.

    She was amazingly professional and exacting – but with no pretensions and always very generous.

    And did I mention fun? and funny?

  5. Kathy was more than amazing. Having her work on a show was like a gift. She always knew where you were and knew, often even before you did,where you were going . As I recollect, she saved a lot of people some real embarrassment. I remember when engineering bought the first Grass Valley switcher…. but then, that’s a long story. Wishing everyone well and hope to see you at the reunion.

  6. I am very sorry to hear of Kathy’s death. She was one of the kindest and most supportive people at WGBH. Whether I was working in the Newsroom or at Pops, or even the dreaded auction, Kathy’s talent, dedication and humor helped any situation, any show, stay on track. And she was incredibly generous and patient with newbies…including me. She didn’t suffer fools, but if she was in your corner, you felt like you were at the big kids table.

  7. I never got to watch her switch, but Kathy was an ebullient presence on and around the scene dock — for decades. A lovely person.

    Paul Solman

  8. Kathy was, indeed, the WGBH switcher of choice for all major productions during my short tenure on the studio crew in the late 60’s, and deservedly so. I rarely had the opportunity to work with her because I was often the switcher of “second choice”, working in Studio B on less demanding, two camera, assignments, but whenever I got the chance I was in her control room watching and learning from the master. I was also Kathy’s “relief” switcher at Longwood for a couple of years but I know Greg Harney was always happy when Kathy returned from a break! She was so good at what she did.

    My break came in November 1969 when Kathy went on maternity leave just before WGBH was to tape a NET Playhouse production of Yale Story Theatre with Mildred Dunnock, produced by Jac Venza and I believe directed by Christopher Sarson. It was shortly after I’d left the crew to become traffic manager but I was asked to switch the show…in Studio A! (I often told the story of how surprised Venza was to learn I’d been recruited from the mail room to switch his show!) Years later when working at PBS I managed to get a VHS tape made of the program which I have to this day…though my VHS player hasn’t been hooked up in forever. I recall looking at the program maybe twenty-five years ago and thinking “they don’t make television like that any more…thank God!)

    I was proud to call Kathy a friend and mentor for those few years. I remember her fondly.

  9. So sorry to hear this. Kathy was a classmate at Northeast Broadcasting School and came over to WGBH as an intern about the same time I did (late 1965). She found her niche as a switcher and got so good at it that she was often requested by directors. She even was hired for projects in New York. I’ve wondered over the years whatever happened to her.

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