Carol Sue Smith, RN, MPA

Carol Sue Smith, RN, MPA

December 2, 1946 – June 29, 2023

Our dear mother, Carol (Varela) Smith, sadly passed away on June 29, 2023 at the age of 76. She was a wonderful wife and mother who was always there when we needed her. Carol also had many, many friends and was a well-loved member of the Omaha community. Carol died peacefully surrounded by her family. Carol is survived by her children, Scott and his wife Janet, Shelby Foral and her husband Rob; grandchildren, Amanda Coffey and her husband Justice, R.J., Haley and Harrison; great grandchildren, Landon and Charlotte; her sister Jill Owens and husband Mike; and sister-in-law Janice Mangiameli. Carol was preceded in death by her husband, Jeffrey, whom she adored tremendously, and both parents, Betty and Bob Varela.

Carol was born on December 2, 1946, in Berwyn, Illinois.  As part of a military family, she moved throughout her childhood. This propelled her to engage many different individuals creating the warm and genuine person everyone enjoyed. Carol’s passion was caring for people, which led her to become a nurse. Throughout her 45-year career, Carol put others first.  She began her service as a hospital nurse then worked in various departments including the ICU and ER units. Later in her career, Carol became the Director of Nursing at Bergan Mercy Medical Center, then Director of Geriatrics and Psychiatric Services and the Adult Crisis Unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  In 2007, Carol was the recipient of the Nebraska Medical Center “Nursing Leadership Award.” Carol concluded her time in the medical field overseeing the Occupational and Physical Therapy units at the Med Center. In between juggling work schedules, Carol and Jeffrey were fortunate to travel nationally and internationally, seeing many wonderful places together.  No rest for the weary, soon after retirement Carol put her nursing skills into overdrive caring for family members and friends. During her leisure time, Carol enjoyed getting together with friends, attending productions at the Orpheum, book club, walks at Lauritzen Gardens, Second Sundays at the Douglas County Historical Society, and Tai Chi in the mornings. Carol fancied hosting delicious meals for family and friends, and they were all excellent! Those benefitting the most and the ones she dearly loved spending time with were her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Most of all, Carol’s love for her husband Jeffrey continued on just as strong in the years following his death. As much as our hearts are broken, we are now comforted knowing Carol is now reunited with Jeffrey.

Friends and family are invited to say their goodbyes to Carol during a VISITATION on Thursday, July 6th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL will be celebrated with Nebraska Nurse Honor Guard on Friday, July 7th at 10:30am at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 20500 West Maple Road, Omaha, Nebraska 68022.  Family Interment at Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to St. Patrick Catholic Church, (, or St. Thomas More Catholic Church, ( in Carol’s name.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please visit and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.



  • Terry Kult Posted July 1, 2023 5:22 pm

    Scott and Shelby, the rain these days are the tears we are crying at the sudden loss of your Mother. If there could be someone you would want for your “sister of the heart” it would have been Carol. She always made time for that little extra touch in my life. Always looking for what would help me grow as a professional and mother. Her beautiful smile and wisdom will always be with me, I always thought we would have more time to grow older and continue to share the mysteries ahead. Her love and friendship is a priceless treasure.

  • Norma Jean Webb Posted July 2, 2023 7:47 pm

    I’m so very sorry to hear of Carol’s death. She and I were roommates in nursing school in what seems another lifetime. I last saw her at our 50th NMH reunion and was so happy to connect after so many years, She remains in my life as one of the most gracious and caring persons I’ve ever met. I was honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and still have pictures of that event. My condolences are with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as so many others who loved and admired her.

  • Betty Foster Posted July 5, 2023 8:05 am

    My sympathy to all of Carol’s family. I worked at the Med Center’s Section of Geriatrics and Gerontology and got to know Carol well. She had a lovely kind and quiet way about her and was a dear friend.

  • Patricia Boynton Posted July 13, 2023 12:23 pm

    Scott and Shelby: My sincerest condolences are with you and your family. I first met your mother in the mid-1970s when we were both young nurses at Bergan Mercy. Over the years, our careers diverged and came together at Mercy Care Center, UNMC Geriatrics, and its satellite at the Omaha VA. Carol was special – one of the kindest, most professional women i encountered in my long career. Her gentle voice and smile offered welcome’s and comfort to all who knew her. I learned her death was unexpected, but she leaves a legacy of memories to treasure. Her Jeff died not long before my Jerry. She took the time and energy to send me a caring note about the grief she had experienced and the thoughts to treasure. I still have the note today. Heaven is a better place with her there reuniting with loved ones gone before her. She leaves a wonderful legacy in you and your families as her love and kindness live on in you. Blessings to all.

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