Mollie Vesey Smith, an author and Christian educator, died on Dec. 23, 2021, at her home in Forest Hills, New York, at the age of 85.
Born Mollie Martha Vesey on April 7, 1936, in Warren, Ohio, Mrs. Smith grew up in Washington D.C. and Leesburg, Virginia.
Mrs. Smith attended Penn Hall Junior College and Preparatory School in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, from which she graduated as a member of the Cum Laude Chapter of the National Honor Society. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College of Columbia University in 1958, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
In June 1957, she married Milburn David Smith Jr. of Fort Plain, New York, who she met when they were both members of the Columbia Players student theater group. Mr. Smith was a playwright and magazine editor and they remained married until his death in 2002.
In 1966, the Smiths bought a house in Forest Hills Gardens, where they lived for the rest of their lives. There, they raised four children and at various points the house was also home to Mrs. Smith’s brother, her niece, and four of six grandchildren.
A published writer and author, Mrs. Smith’s works included “An Unnecessary Woman,” a 1980 novel published by Belmont Tower Books, and “Entertain At Home,” published in 1978 by Playmore Inc., which billed itself as “A guide to formal, semi-formal and informal entertaining in your own home.”
Mrs. Smith was an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Forest Hills, where she ran the children’s education program for over a decade and was beloved by her students. Her faith informed her political views on matters of social justice and equality. As a member of the P.S. 101 Parents’ Association she worked to desegregate New York City Public Schools. She founded committees to promote nuclear disarmament and peace efforts, provided food for local homeless shelters, registered voters and hosted fund-raisers for Democratic presidential candidates.
Besides her work as an author, teacher, activist and homemaker, Mrs. Smith was an insatiable reader, an accomplished chef and an avid gardener who gave lectures on the history of plantings and landscaping in Forest Hills Gardens and hosted walking tours of the neighborhood.
Mrs. Smith is survived by her children; Milburn David Smith III of Forest Hills, N.Y., Jonathan Vesey of Hoboken, N.J., Eliza Vallette of Southwest Harbor, Maine, and Benjamin H. Smith of Forest Hills, her six grandchildren, and her brothers; John Vesey of Dallas, Texas, and Wade Vesey of Portola Valley, California.
A wake for Mollie V. Smith will be held at Fox Funeral Home in Forest Hills on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, with viewing hours from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Smith asked that donations be made in her name to the United Negro College Fund: https://uncf.org/.
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