Published in Pasadena Star-News on Apr. 18, 2018
Watt Smith, M.D.
April 28, 1943 – April 5, 2018
Sara Watt Smith, M.D., died Thursday, April 5, 2018, after a
long and courageous battle with cancer.
It would not be a stretch to call Sara a Renaissance woman.
Sara was artistic, athletic, and had a keen scientific mind.
From a very early age she showed tremendous artistic talent,
and in her teens sold her paintings to make extra money.
While at University of Michigan for college, she was one of thirty people in the nation asked to
try out for the Olympic low board diving event. She followed this up by going to Johns Hopkins
for medical school, originally entertaining the idea of becoming a medical illustrator, but
ultimately deciding on pediatrics.
After living briefly in San Francisco and Anchorage, Alaska, she settled in San Marino in
1975. Her career as a pediatrician spanned over 35 years in which she mainly worked with
underserved communities at the Kaiser Permanente East Los Angeles clinic. She enjoyed
keeping in touch with her patients and their families as they outgrew her care, and one of her
greatest pleasures was to hear from those patients who went on to college.
Sara was first diagnosed with cancer in 2010, after which she turned her attention to her
health and to spending as much time with her children and grandchildren as possible.
Throughout her retirement and multiple treatments, Sara continued to live her life to the very
fullest. She was determined to not let her condition slow her down, and she traveled
extensively with her family. Sara enjoyed snorkeling, skiing, and weekly walks at the
Huntington Gardens and Lacy Park. Her passion for art never dwindled and her bedside
easel contains paintings she intended to complete.
Sara was a remarkable woman. She was a compassionate physician, talented artist, and
loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. Her strength and perseverance in the
midst of life's challenges were a source of inspiration to her family and friends. Sara loved life
and was ever so purposeful about living a worthy one.
She is survived by her daughter Kelly Smith Parker, Kelly's husband John W. Parker, III, and
their sons, Cole and Austin; her son Matthew Pierce Smith, M.D., Matt's wife Tirza P.
Castellanos, J.D., and their daughters, Sophia and Catalina; and her sister Frances Watt
Baker, M.D., Frances's husband Lenox D. Baker, M.D. and their daughters, Sarah F. B.
Campsen, M.D., Margaret W. Baker, J.D., and Carol L. B. Bowman. She was predeceased
by her parents, James Watt, M.D., and Margaret Gutelius Watt, M.D., and by her niece,
Katherine Dial Baker.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to:
The Huntington Library Attn: Lorena Patlan
Sara Watt Smith Memorial Fund
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108