Linnie Mae Smith, former business owner, retired school district administrator and dedicated churchgoer, died Sept. 2 at her home. She was 86.
Smith was the first child of Sherman and Ethel Williams Smith of Fernandina Beach. The Smith household was based on Christian values, in an environment that shaped her Christian training which continued at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church under the late Rev. S.A. Thomas.
She was a member of the 1940 graduating class of Booker T. Washington High School in Overtown, Miami, and went on to earn a B.S. in Business Administration from North Carolina College for Negroes (now known as North Carolina Central University) in Durham, N.C., in 1944.
Influenced by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit during an era when few women could opwn businesses, especially black women, she opened and successfully operated Smith’s Ice Cream Sundry Parlor. A few years later, she was hired as secretary to the Miami-Dade school system’s first black area superintendent, Walter Cogdell.
In 1952, she became the registrar at George Washington Carver High School, headed by the newly appointed principal, Frances S. Tucker. In a career that extended over three decades, she supported six additional principals, until her retirement.
Under the leadership of the Rev. Cleo Albury, Smith initiated “Family Day,” an annual event still held at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. She also served as Press Club secretary, financial secretary and church clerk, until her health failed.
Among her many affiliations, she was a member of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, where she held many positions, including the presidency.
Smith’s survivors include sisters Alva Smith Davis of Las Vegas and Ethel Smith Duncan of Miami; nieces, Kimberly Davis Bell, Lisa Davis Wilson, Jewyll Duncan Wyman and Shelley Davis; grandnieces, Chelsea Bell, Rebecca DuMornay, Dominique DuMornay, Erin Wilson, Janelle Duncan and Sara Wyman; grandnephews, Ian Duncan II, Julian Bell and Zachary Bell; and cousin, Audrey Hawthorne.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, 698 NW 47th Terr., Miami.
Interment will be at Southern Memorial Park, 1500 W. Dixie Hywy. Hall Ferguson-Hewitt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.