Constance Ryder Smith of White Plains, New York, passed away peacefully from complications of presumed Covid-19 on April 14, 2020, at the age of 94. She was preceded in death by her deeply loved husband Dr. Alfred Ash Smith, daughter Hilary Anne Smith, parents Dr. Morton and Anne Ryder of Carmel, sister Diane Ryder, and brother and sister-in-law Clayton and Joan Ryder. Beloved mother of Leslie (Bruce) Lawrence of Beacon, longtime residents of Mahopac and Carmel, and Marguerite Smith of New Rochelle and grandmother of Lisa Lawrence of Mahopac and Katie Lawrence of Beacon – all of whom were Connie’s greatest pride and joy. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, who share in their grief.
A former resident of The Plaza at Clover Lake in Carmel, Connie was born in Rye, New York, on December 14, 1925. She and Al raised their family in Elmsford and Katonah. At the time of her passing, she was the oldest living member of the extended Ryder family that has owned and worked the Ryder Farm in Brewster since 1795. One of Rye Country Day School’s earliest graduates, Connie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Wellesley College in 1947, and, a testament to her drive and determination, she received her Master of Science in Basic Medical Sciences from New York Medical College in 1982. She was actively involved with local organizations for many years, including her time as a Girl Scout leader, teaching Sunday School at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and as a volunteer at Northern Westchester Hospital.
Brilliant in her research, thoughtful and eloquent in her writing, Connie had a long and distinguished career as a well-published medical writer and editor of monographs and articles on an expansive range of scientific subjects. A career highlight, she authored the Hall of Science’s “The Diagnosis of Disease” exhibit for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, which included animated models and diagrams showing chemical and electronic detection used to help diagnose diabetes and other diseases. She wrote for several pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, and publishers, including Abbott Laboratories, The Ames Company, Ayerst Laboratories, Biomedical Information Corporation, Connaught Laboratories, G.D. Searle & Company, Marion Laboratories, Parke-Davis, L.W. Frohlich & Company, Medicus Intercon, and McGraw-Hill.
Connie will be forever remembered for her amazing bright smile that lit up the room; her grace in the face of difficulties; fierce advocacy for and selfless devotion to those she loved; and her kindness, generosity, and genuine compassion. Only lives so rich can leave such a big hole in our hearts when they are gone. She is missed beyond words.
A celebration of Connie’s life and burial at Raymond Hill Cemetery in Carmel will be held when the world starts spinning again. Until then, in lieu of flowers, plant a lilac bush or do a kind deed in her memory – she would have loved that. For those wishing, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation (alzfdn.org).