Marcia (Eckholm) Smyth ’64

8 October 2018

Class: 1964

Major: Government

Residence: Muenchen

Deceased: August 27, 2018

Marcia Smyth died in August 2018 after living for many years with complications from several bouts of throat and lung cancer and a cerebral aneurysm.
Marcia was a native of Lakeland, Minnesota and graduated from Stillwater, MN in 1960 at the top of her high school class, enrolled at Carleton that fall and majored in Government. The Washington Semester program opened up job possibilities for her and, following graduation, she happily returned to DC when recruited for a job with the National Security Agency. While working there she met her first husband Michael Kleinman who worked at the Computer Sciences Corporation. As women were not given interesting or challenging opportunities at NSA, she followed her husband into the computer programming field, working briefly at IBM. Her career was cut short by her husband’s transfer to the Netherlands and later to London, where their daughter, Lorin Kleinman was born. Another four-year transfer, to San Francisco, was again followed by a move back to the Netherlands.
While in Amsterdam on their second Netherlands assignment, Marcia reconnected with Douglas Smyth, a CSC colleague they had known in London, and soon she and Lorin followed Doug to Munich in 1977. She and Doug lived in Munich from then until her death in 2018. Marcia was primarily a homemaker while Lorin was in elementary and secondary school, but she also worked part time writing for technology journals and short-term administrative positions at IT companies. In addition to her proficiency in German, Marcia learned Italian and Spanish, which along with her IT skills, provided as much employment as she desired.
Lorin chose to attend college in the Washington area and settled there permanently. Upon Doug’s retirement in 2001, he and Marcia formally married and bought a seasonal property in the Costa Blanca area of Spain, living there six months a year from that time for the rest of her life. Once or twice a year Marcia, sometimes accompanied by Doug before his death in 2015, would travel to the US to visit Lorin in DC, her brothers in Minnesota and California. She often timed her travels to attend either our regular reunions or one of the several class mini reunions. Her last visit to the US included attending our “Chicago mini” in September 2017.

Posted In


  • 2018-11-26 21:48:52
    Richard Barnes

    I did not learn of Marcia's passing until receiving a packet of materials for our upcoming 55th reunion in 2019.

    Marcia and I were not close during our four years at Carleton, but we were good friends in the years before Carleton, and we always made time to visit with each other at reunions and mini-reunions, beginning with the first one I attended, our 40th, in 2004.

    Marcia and I attended the same high school, and the same junior high school before that.  We rode on the same school bus for the twelve-mile trip from our adjacent small towns into Stillwater every day. We were two nerdy kids who enjoyed posing as maturing sophisticates.  We knew we were in a special status because, along with a small gang of friends, we would drive over to Minneapolis from Stillwater on Saturdays to see foreign films in the University district. During the latter part of our senior year we started dating each other after discovering that we both wanted to attend Carleton, without having discussed it with each other beforehand.  Our "romance" was an entirely platonic one, but it made for a great summer between high school graduation and our freshman orientation week at Carleton.

     Once we entered campus we looked at each other in our freshman beanies, and decided that we each had our separate worlds to explore and from then until graduation, we made only passing small talk with each other.

     Re-discovering each other and re-kindling our friendship began at the 40th reunion. I have a photo of the two of us,taken by my partner Sandy, walking through the twig sculpture maze (or tunnel?) that was constructed as an art installation on the Bald Spot. Marcia raised her family in Munich and lived there and in Spain, and at reunion conversations we'd talk mainly about our travels, and in that talking I would be reminded that two naive, nerdy kids who grew up in a very small town were able to have very rich lives, and Carleton gave us the key.




Add a comment