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September 26, 2015

Victoria has lost a special lady with the death of lifelong resident Muriel Smith on September 26, 2015. Muriel Elsie was born at home, on Broughton Street, to Elsie (Dumbleton) and Bert Zala on August 9, 1922. Muriel’s family was active in the early Vaudeville circuit and her Dad, Bert, was a

popular pianist and orchestra leader in Victoria. It wasn’t long before little Muriel was singing and dancing on stage herself. Muriel fondly remembered dancing for Jenny Butchart’s guests on the lawn in front of the Butchart’s home in 1926. Muriel attended Alice Carr’s Kindergarten and Beacon Hill Elementary School in James Bay and later, Girl’s Central School and Victoria High in Fernwood.

Muriel continued to sing and dance in school pageants, with her Dad’s orchestra at the Crystal Gardens and more recently, entertaining her fellow residents at Selkirk Place Complex Care, with her impromptu piano ‘recitals’.

Muriel was married to her husband, Don Smith, for 62 years; they met in Victoria during the War years and made their home, first in Sidney, BC, where Don was the Custom’s Officer, before moving into Oak Bay. Don and Muriel were active members at Uplands Golf Club until Don’s death in 2005.

Muriel worked for the Municipality of Oak Bay in the Tax Department. Upon retirement, Muriel discovered ‘recreational shopping’ and she enjoyed nothing more than wandering through the shops along Oak Bay Avenue, often accompanied by her daughter, Suzanne (Peter) of Cowichan Bay.

Muriel was a kind and multi-talented lady who was devoted to her family, loved animals and her garden. Her beauty, warmth and creativity will be missed.

The family would like to thank the Staff on 4th Floor Dayton Unit at Selkirk Place for their patience with Mom while she was a resident and especially for the compassion that was shown to us in Mom’s final days.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to your local SPCA. Condolences may be offered to the family at

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