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Devout Christian Susan Smith excelled with horses, sales

From the time Susan Smith was a young girl, she nurtured lifelong devotions to horses, her religious faith and her family.

The Murrysville resident even fit in a successful 20-year-long career in residential real estate.

Susan L. Smith died in her home on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011, after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 68.

"She was a great competitor, whether it was horses or real estate," said daughter Michelle Smith Schulenberg of Murrysville. "She gave everything her all and was hard-working."

Until a few years ago, Mrs. Smith sold homes for Northwood Realty from its Murrysville office, rising to become a multimillion-dollar producer.

Mrs. Smith was an award-winning horsewoman whose honors included a Top-Ten finish in her class at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, the largest single-breed horse show in the world whose events attract more than 8,500 horses.

"All three generations of the family went there for that," Schulenberg said. "The horse shows were a lot of fun, and it kept our family close."

Mrs. Smith found her love for horses as a girl. She often stopped at horse barns and asked the owners if she could walk their horses, said her daughter.

"The first guy she approached said to her, 'You won't get far. The horse has arthritis,'" she said. "But within weeks, she was walking that horse around."

Pat Fuchs, show secretary of the Western Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association, said Mrs. Smith won several awards and rarely missed one of the group's 26 shows a year.

"She helped everybody, and everybody loved her," Fuchs said. "She was always a light to the rest of us and an inspiration."

Born in Wilkinsburg, Mrs. Smith met her future husband, John, at an Assemblies of God church when both were 16. The couple were married 49 years and eight months.

"God is really important in our family, and she was quite a spirit-filled Christian," said Schulenberg, adding that her mother's great-grandfather was one of the church's founding members.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Smith is survived by son Darin Smith of Clinton and four grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Hart Funeral Home Inc., 3103 Lillian Ave., Murrysville.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the funeral home. Entombment will follow in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Penn Hills.

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