Margaret Smith


LITTLE ROCK — Margaret Ann Porbeck Smith, 85, died Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at Chenal Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Born in Little Rock, she was a daughter of the late Christine Kirspel and George F. Porbeck Sr. Margaret was a graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock and Webster College in St. Louis, where she received a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Margaret’s life was spent in service to others. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty. As deputy director of the Economic Opportunity Agency, Margaret was instrumental in the development and implementation of the first Head Start program in Pulaski County, the VISTA volunteer program, and the establishment of the first alcohol rehabilitation house in Little Rock.

She was also involved in other socially conscious programs such as the League of Women Voters, the Urban League, the Area Agency on Aging and Elizabeth Mitchell Children’s Center. If one aspect defined her life it was that she was an advocate for the poor and a crusader for equality and justice.

Margaret is survived by three daughters, Ginger Smith of Little Rock, Jan Gresham and her husband Pat Gresham, both of Little Rock, and Pat Tate and her husband Byron Tate of Pine Bluff; a son, Mike Smith of Collins; and three grandsons, Matthew Gresham of McRae, Andrew Gresham of Little Rock, and Ethan Tate of New York City. Her companion of more than 45 years, Mike Cleary, now lives in Yellville.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock, with Msgr. John O’Donnell officiating. Interment will immediately follow at the Columbarium at Holy Souls. Arrangements are by Griffin Leggett Healey and Roth. Memorials may be made to Arkansas Rice Depot. The family wishes to thank the staffs at Chenal Heights and Arkansas Hospice for their loving care.