Former Model/Lifestyle Maven Barbara Elaine Smith died last night at age 70, from Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Smith was diagnosed with the disease nearly six years ago and later chronicled her journey with husband Dan Gasby in Before I Forget.
Barbara Elaine Smith was born on August 24, 1949 in Everson, Pennsylvania to mother, Florence, a maid and her father, William, a steelworker. Smith got her break in the mid sixties as a Ebony Fashion Fair model and later signed with Wilhelmina Modeling agency. Smith was the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine in 1976. Barbara “B.” Smith was one of the first supermodels.
In 1986, Barbara launched her first restaurant called B. Smith; on Eighth Avenue at 47th Street in New York City, and years later would go on to open two more in Sag Habor, NY and Union Station in Washington, D.C. She wrote three highly acclaimed cookbooks, while also launching a nationally syndicated television show (B. Smith with Style and B. Smith Style) and a magazine called B. Smith Style. She was the first African-American woman with home products distributed exclusively at Bed Bath & Beyond. She is also a recipient of numerous national and local awards for helping those in need.
From husband Dan Gasby:
It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith.
B. died peacefully Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 10:50 pm, of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in our home in Long Island, New York. She was 70.
Thank you to Dr. Sam Gandy, East End Hospice and additional caregivers who helped us make B. comfortable in her final days. Thank you to all the friends and fans who supported B. and our family during her journey. Thank you to everyone for respecting our privacy during this agonizing time.
Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile.