More than two weeks after a 68-year-old Sequim woman went missing, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office reports they have no new information on her whereabouts.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said they believe Jerilyn Smith, a Sequim-native, jumped off the Elwha River Road bridge into the Elwha River west of Port Angeles sometime on Jan. 7.
After two days of searching, first responders were unable to locate her by foot, helicopter, or kayak.
“With conditions as such we will likely wait until water level and visibility improves,” King said. “That can all change in the event we get new information.”
King said Smith had a long history of depression and suicidal thoughts.
Family and friends held a memorial service on Jan. 20 at Dungeness Community Church led by her brother and pastor Ken Gilchrist.
Smith is survived by her husband Ronald Smith of 50 years, their four children, and eight great-grandchildren. Family members said Smith had a deep faith and that she was reunited with another grandchild in heaven.
Over her life, Smith worked as a property manager and bookkeeper for Smith Family Enterprises for 40 years. Afterward, she spent time working as a secretary and/or receptionist at various businesses, as a bank customer representative, and as office manager and bookkeeper at Lynden Chamber of Commerce before serving as the Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce’s office administrator for 17 years. Coworkers said even after retirement Smith continued to volunteer there.
For being active in the community and a Sequim-native, Smith was selected as grand marshal of the 2009 Sequim Irrigation Festival too.
Ellen Swears, a volunteer at the Sequim Visitor Information Center run by the chamber, told the Peninsula Daily News that Smith was the go-to person for inquires about Sequim and how it’s grown.
The chamber’s executive director Shelli Robb-Kahler said Smith had a “wonderful, kind and compassionate part that everybody loved.”
She added that Smith was “always supportive and always upbeat, and if anyone was having a bad day or a volunteer was having a bad day or had some unfortunate thing happen or a member was struggling or something, she was always that constant source of support, and had a this-too-will-pass kind of attitude.”
“She never judged anyone and never had harsh words about anyone,” Robb-Kahler said.
Family said Smith grew up on a farm loving animals and helping around the farm and that some of her hobbies through her life included watching old movies, playing board games, drawing, writing and playing pickleball.
Sheriff staff recommend that if anyone has information on Smith’s whereabouts to call 9-1-1 or the dispatch line at 360-417-2459.