Florence “Anne” Smith (neé Harris) passed away peacefully at her home in Bryn Mawr, PA on February 28, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. She is pre-deceased by her mother Avis, stepfather Don, and sister Harriet (Wayne). She was the beloved wife of her husband Dale, loving mother to her daughter Laurie (Bob) and her son Greg, devoted Gmom to her grandchildren Alexandra and Bobby, kind sister to her brother Lewis, and caring aunt to her many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
Anne was born on April 20, 1933 and was raised by her mother in Illinois with her sister and brother. Her mother Avis would bring Anne to her beauty parlor as a child. She always enjoyed seeing the ladies come in for their hair treatments and wanted to be involved. She worked for her Uncle Woody at his drugstore once she was older, which she loved. She helped around the house too, taking care of her younger brother. Once she graduated high school, she worked for The News-Gazette in Champaign, IL. She soon met Dale and they became best friends. After a few years, Dale asked her on a date and the rest was history. They were married on August 23, 1958 and were together for over 63 years. They shared a beautiful and full life raising their children and enjoying their grandchildren.
Anne and Dale started their family in Illinois with the birth of their daughter Laurie in 1960 and son Greg in 1966. Anne loved being a mother and her joy was contagious. She planned special birthday celebrations, Christmases, family vacations, and trips to visit extended family. Anne was a devoted mother to her children and was always there for them, celebrating their joys and consoling their sorrows with love, compassion, words of wisdom, and a big hug. She was always present, not just when they were young, but through their entire lives. Her children will cherish her precious gift of their mother’s love forever.
Anne and Dale moved to Moorestown, NJ for Dale’s work in 1972. She joined the Newcomers Club and soon made lifelong friends. Anne would play tennis in her free time, and she enjoyed organizing events and her trips to New York to see Broadway shows. She would often travel with Dale for work and appreciated visiting new places. She always loved art and shared that passion with her brother Lewis, an art professor at the University of Tampa. They planned a trip together to Europe to see all the art museums and art history. Her love for art was always part of her life.
Once Laurie and Greg were grown, Anne and Dale moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. Anne had volunteered in a Montessori classroom and fell in love with the teaching of young children with the Montessori method. Shortly after, Anne decided to go to college to receive a Montessori education certification. She began teaching Montessori at Waldron Mercy Academy in 1987 and continued educating young children there for over 20 years. Anne was a true Montessorian at heart and exemplified the Montessori approach in teaching young children. Her patience, compassion, and love for the children made her an excellent Montessori educator. Anne’s passion for art led her to create lessons that taught children about the artist, the style they used, and allowed them to create work at their level that utilized what they learned. They created Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Monet’s Water Lilies, and Degas’ Dancers to name a few. If Anne were working nearby on a new project, the children would quietly and cautiously walk by to try and get a sneak peek of what Mrs. Smith was creating for their next art lesson. They were always so excited to learn art from Mrs. Smith. Anne loved every moment she spent with the children and considered her work with them her vocation.
Anne and Laurie joined the Catholic Church together in 1994. Teaching in a Catholic school brought Anne closer to God and her faith and she was thrilled to join a faith tradition that meant a lot to her. She always had an overflowing prayer list and made a point to teach her grandchildren about God’s love.
Spending time with her grandchildren was a joy in Anne’s life. She would see them every day after school and was ever-present in their lives. She never missed a dance recital, choir performance, school play, baseball, soccer, or lacrosse game. She loved doing art projects with Alexandra and Bobby and during December, weekends were reserved for creating Mom and Dad’s homemade Christmas cards and presents at Gmom’s. Anne loved taking trips down the shore with her family to Ocean City, NJ every summer. She loved building sandcastles, collecting shells, and playing games on the beach with her grandchildren. She would bring colored pencils and paper so Alexandra and Bobby could have something to do on the rainy days. They would all play card games and laugh for hours. She also looked forward to her trips to Florida every year after Christmas to celebrate the holidays with Lewis and Greg. Anne, Alexandra, and Bobby would sit on the balcony and paint the sunsets with watercolors at the end of hot beach days.
Anne had to retire when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was dotingly cared for by her husband, daughter, and grandchildren for many years until her passing. Despite her health challenges, her family and friends meant everything to her and continued to bring her much joy.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit the family Saturday, March 19, 2022 at St. Dorothy Church, 4910 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, PA for Visitation from 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM and a Funeral Mass at 10:30 AM.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions in Anne’s memory to the Montessori Program at Waldron Mercy Academy, 513 Montgomery Avenue, Merion Station, PA 19066.