In the second half of her life, Mary Lou Smith became known for being the person who knew the most about Falmouth history, and perhaps, the person who cared the most about saving it.
After raising four daughters in Woods Hole with her husband, Paul Smith, she turned to historic preservation starting in her early sixties. Among her most enduring accomplishments was editing "The Book of Falmouth," a volume of photographs, memories, and history that has become an important historical reference. It was published to coincide with Falmouth's 300th anniversary in 1986.
She was instrumental in saving the 1878 mansion Highfield Hall from demolition in the 1990s, as well as getting the town to renovate the 1930's-era Mullen Hall School when some suggested building a new school elsewhere.
Mary Lou Smith was a founder of the Woods Hole Historical Museum and its journal, "Spritsail," which is still published twice a year.
She is remembered as a buoyant woman who had a knack for getting people to work on the projects she was passionate about.
Mary Lou Smith died at home in Woods Hole on July 17, 2013. She was 91.