Spotlight COlorado  

Have You Met?

Deb Smith wears many hats – she’s the President of the Denver Center Alliance, a volunteer, a substitute teacher, and a Sunday school teacher. She’s active in her neighborhood, her church and numerous causes from preserving wildlife habitats to historical Denver architecture – she has earned her self-described job title of “Queen of many things.”

She also has an eclectic array of interests and anecdotes from the theater to the night she appeared on the David Letterman Show performing a “Stupid Pet Trick” with her dog, Gretle McBarker. Although Gretle has a huge repertoire of tricks, she appeared on the Letterman show to perform the one in which she chases air from a hairdryer.

Deb grew up in Roselle, Illinois, just outside of Chicago and by high school, had become a full-fledged thespian. She went to take the state championship for poetry, dramatic and comic readings and was the first runner up in the Illinois Junior Miss Pageant performing the ‘Lusty Month of May’ from Camelot.

“I was a triple threat,” she says, “I could sing, dance and act and I hated every minute of it! My older sister had been Junior Miss of Illinois and the forth runner up the nation so I was kind of pushed into it. Now, during meetings I keep threatening my Board -‘If you think this meeting is boring, be careful or I’ll perform A Cup of Tea.’”

Deb has always been passionate about the theater, “It’s a place to celebrate life, especially after September 11th,” she says. She is also passionate about substitute teaching, which she’s been doing for the past ten years.

“The fulfillment I get from it is incredible,” says Deb. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. You don’t do it for the money, you do it because of the kids. My husband, Tom and I got married later in life and don’t have kids of our own, so it’s really important and fulfilling to me to play a role in their lives. “

Favorite Clothing Stores: I’m a bargain hunter so any place I can get a bargain.

What gives a woman/man style: Thoughtfulness for others

Favorite Restaurant: My husband and I are incredible carnivores and we love the Northwood’s Inn, it’s been around since 1960.

Which social event is your favorite? Whatever one I’ve just been to I always think is the best.

What are your volunteer activities? I’m the President of the Denver Center Alliance, have been active with Hearts for Life/ American Heart Association, Aware, and Kempe, which I was with when they were Hope for Children. I’ve been active in my church for 22 years, I teach Sunday school, and do work in the missions department. I volunteer at craft shows for a business that sells Christmas tree ornaments made by indigent families. I am also very active in preserving the open space in Highlands Ranch, including maintaining wildlife habitats and the integrity of our historic Phipps Mansion.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you ever met? Gretle McBarker, our miniature schnauzer, who was on David Letterman Stupid Pet Tricks for chasing the air form a blow dryer and David Letterman because he was so witty and really thinks on his feet.

Who is your hero and why? My father because he taught me not to take myself too seriously and how to laugh at myself.

If your life were a movie, who would play your part? Helen Hunt because she goes through all this weird stuff and always lands on her feet. She’s not glamorous but it all works out for her in the end.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? That I sew, and was meticulous and handy.

What one word describes you best? Energetic

What word would you like others to use to describe you: Thoughtful

What was your first job? When I was 16 years old, I was a counter girl at Shirl’s Drive Inn in Roselle, Ill. They just tore it down; I guess they couldn’t do without me

What word or _expression do you use too much? Anyways…

What’s one thing nobody knows about you? I am horrifically timid and insecure, my nickname as a kid was “The Mouse”.

What is your greatest indulgence? Spend a day on the couch reading a great book.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband, my dog and going for walks.

Which talent would you most like to have? To keep my arms down when someone says…can anybody…

What is your current state of mind? Peaceful and happy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Teaching and helping all the kids at school, complementing them on something they just did. Being able to say, “Man, you did great!” and they just smile. That smile is my greatest achievement.

What is your most treasured possession? Other than my dog or my husband, nothing. As much as I love my house and all the things we have, if it were all gone tomorrow I’d be fine. I can’t put too much value on possessions, it’s all just stuff, and we all have too much stuff.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Putting to much emphasis on things and accomplishments instead of people. I learn a lot from kids whose parents have no time for them.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Selflessness

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Same

What are some of your favorite books and writers? I love who-done-its and murder mysteries, William Coughlin, and Dale Gilbert who only wrote three books, all of which are out of print but they were the best who-done-its I have ever read.

What is the best advice you have ever received? Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does.

What is your motto? I say it to my little kids in Sunday school and it goes all the way up to older people, its weird but true, and it sums it all up…”play nice.”