Smalley Memorial Scholarship

Staff Report

The Scioto Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Mary Smalley Memorial Scholarship Fund, created in memory of the long-time music educator by her daughters, Peggy Ruggiero and Jane Boyer.

Applicants for the new scholarship award must be a graduate of Portsmouth West High School and plan to major in music or the arts. The Scioto Foundation volunteer scholarship committee, on behalf of the Board of Governors, will make annual scholarship selections.

“Mary was an accomplished musician who loved music and was committed to fostering the appreciation of music in the young people that she educated. She taught piano to countless students, many of whom performed in her annual piano recitals. Her students remember Mary for her patience and her kind, encouraging words, and also for her ability to challenge them and broaden their horizons, musically and culturally,” said her granddaughter, Susan Ruggiero Salyer.

Her family recalls that whenever Mary went to restaurants, concerts and other events, she was delighted to encounter former students who greeted her with love and fond recollections.

“So many people remember my mother with her bright red hair and welcoming smile, accompanying the West choir or playing the organ at a wedding, funeral or church services,”said daughter Jane Smalley Boyer. “It was a joy for her to be a part of the West Portsmouth and greater community.”

The daughter of Arthur Emrys and Margaret Jenkins Parry, Mary Frances Smalley was born on August 5, 1928 in her family’s home on Fifth Street in West Portsmouth and died on January 15, 2017. She lived her entire life in several homes on Fifth Street, which was anchored by her school and her church, the EUB Church which became Nauvoo United Methodist Church.

Mary began taking piano lessons at the Portsmouth Conservatory of Music when she was six years old and became the drummer in her school’s band at age thirteen. After graduating from Washington Local High School in 1946, Mary served as the accompanist for the West High School chorus for thirteen years. She was organist for her home church for 70 years and at First Lutheran Church for 27 years. She also played for Daehler Funeral Home and many weddings throughout the community. A member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, she taught hundreds of students in her home for more than sixty years. In recognition of her lifelong career in music, the Portsmouth Area Arts Council recognized Mary with an Arts Award for “Outstanding Arts Educator” in 2013.

Active in her community, Mary served on the board of directors of the Community Concert Association, the Nauvoo Methodist Church Board, and the Scioto County Mental Health Board. She also was a member of the Portsmouth Sister City organization, the Boneyfiddle Arts Club and Raven Rock Garden Club, as well as other school and church groups. In 2008, she and her husband Elmo received the Joined Hearts in Giving award from the Ohio governor in recognition of their community service.

High school sweethearts, Mary and Elmo, who passed away in April, 2016, were married for 70 years. In addition to their two daughters and their husbands Dan Ruggiero and Doug Boyer, the couple had five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Additions to the Mary Smalley Memorial Scholarship Fund may be made by friends, family, former students and supporters in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property at any time. Further information about the Smalley Fund or other planned giving opportunities may be obtained by contacting Kim Cutlip or Patty Tennant at the Scioto Foundation office, (740) 354-4612 or by visiting the SF website at

Staff Report