It was at the St. Joseph Catholic Church cafeteria on Virginia the first time I met Betty Knight Smith.
Bigger than her name and more influential than any man I’ve known in Evansville politics, Betty Knight Smith commanded respect from everyone there. I could feel it, walking into that caucus. I was an outsider that evening at the church, new to Democrat politics, running for Frank McDonald’s City Council seat. He was our new mayor.
Betty Knight had her favorite female that night. It wasn’t me. But, not long after, I witnessed what anyone who knew Betty could attest. If you were interested in making this a better city, she would be there to help you.
Betty Lou Jarboe, her longtime friend and “the other Betty” wrote, “Betty pushed women in the Democrat Party to get more active in their city’s development. She loved helping people and when they were in need she saw that they got it, sometimes putting them up in her home until she was sure they were cared for.”
Betty didn’t leave politics after she retired from office. She helped out one more candidate, Rick Davis. Betty took him under her wing and served as his mentor. Although he was a tribute to her fine political skills, I just imagine his is the only race she ever lost.
Betty Lou wrote me this evening, “Evansville has lost a great lady. Many tears will fall tonight.”
May Betty Knight Smith “Rest In Peace”!
Written By State Representative Gail Riecken