In Memoriam of Link Barbara D. Smith

It was 94 years ago, on December 17, 1925 that Barbara D. Smith was born and the world would never be the same. She transitioned from labor to reward on December 25, 2019. 

Barbara accepted Christ at an early age and grew up in the church with her beloved mother Ella Katheryne Eason and brothers. Barbara’s commitment to helping others, giving back, living humbly and serving humanity was rooted in her faith in Christ. 

Barbara’s life passion was education. She took pride in inspiring curiosity, teaching children and youth, and guiding aspiring teachers. She found this work to be her purpose and very rewarding and satisfying. 

Before selecting education as her focus of professional studies, Barbara received a certificate in Dental Hygiene from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She then pursued and received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education from Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA. She received her Masters of Science degree in Education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Barbara taught Elementary School in Philadelphia for four (4) years and in the Wheaton- Warrenville School District 200 for 19 years. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at National-Lewis University working with student teachers for three (3) years. She retired from classroom teaching in 1989.

Barbara was a stickler for protocol and accuracy. When recalling the African American history of DuPage County and her role in it, she was quick to make sure the record properly reflected the joint and collaborative work of others involved in chartering projects. Barbara was a tireless leader, visionary and pioneer. Seeing voids and vacancies for African Americans to worship, serve and lead, Barbara set upon a course to establish organizations and institutions, where mentors and protégés flourished. At the age of 51, she helped establish The West Towns Illinois Chapter of The Links Incorporated. At the age of 54, she helped establish DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Barbara was a founding and charter member of The West Towns Illinois Chapter of The Links Incorporated, one of the most prestigious international, professional volunteer service organizations for women of color. Barbara joined with her friends Carolyn Gibson, Ollie Matthews, Mary Lou Finley and Georgia Edwards and chartered the chapter in 1976. The national award-winning chapter’s membership boast of the finest leaders, physicians, judges, executives, entrepreneurs, artists and educators and chaplains in the country. In addition to being a charter member, Barbara was a platinum member, having served The Links Incorporated for 40 years. 

Barbara was a founding member of DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, the largest AME Church in the Midwest, which provided a church home for membership that exceeded 2,500 and various ministries. Barbara and Carl along with Sydney and Mary Lou Finley, Ernie and Carolyn Gibson, Rollie and Virginia Steele, Rev. Donald and Edwina Harwell, Ines Arauz, Carol Coleman, Kathleen Crowe Edwards, Georgia Gatson, Lula Gibson, Don and Regina Jackson, Elizabeth Williams and Jean Williams established DuPage AME Church in September 1979, where the first worship service was held.

One organization that was near and dear to Barbara’s heart was Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. where Barbara was a sorority member of the Glen Ellyn Area Alumnae Chapter. She was a Golden Life Member and a Delta Dear. In June 2019, Barbara celebrated forty years of sisterhood and service in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Some of Barbara’s life-long and best friends are Deltas. 

In addition to being a charter member of the DuPage AME Church, Barbara served in many capacities at the church. She served as church secretary for three (3) years. She served as the first missionary president for three (3) years. She was a faithful member of Chancel Choir (now known as Anthem Choir). Barbara also served as President of the Sara Allen Missionary Society for six (6) years. She received several awards for her service at DuPage AME Church to include; Appreciation Award for Service in God’s Work, 1986, Award for Continuous Outstanding Leadership and Service, 1997 and the Bishop’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Pillar-Building Service in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2006. 

In 1999, Barbara was the first recipient of Metropolitan Family Services (DuPage) inaugural Gold L.E.A. F. Award for her missionary work at DuPage AME for providing and mobilizing services that strengthen families and communities. Upon receiving the award to a standing ovation, Barbara stated, “There is a destiny that makes us brothers. None goes his own way alone. All that we give into the lives of others, comes back into our own.” 

Barbara was a life member of the NAACP and a member of WIN (Women in the NAACP). Barbara was also a member of Lombard Area AAUW (American Association of University Women). She also served on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts for four (4) years. 

Barbara loved playing the piano and reading. She also loved her cat Ebony. 

Barbara was married for 50 years to Carl Smith and together raised 5 sons, Carl Smith Jr.  (Arlene), Cameron Wells, David Smith (Sylvia), Steven Smith, and Phillip Smith (Quiera). They were also blessed with 3 grandsons, Malik, Matthew and Michael.  Barbara leaves to celebrate her life, her loving husband Carl, 5 sons and a host of family members, Sorors, Links and friends. Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Attorney Henry D. Dolphin and Ella Katheryne Jones Eason and her brothers, Lionel B. Dolphin, Verginald L. Dolphin and George Dolphin. 

Barbara’s spirit and guidance will continue to live deeply within the hearts of her loved ones. Her legacy, kindness and selflessness will continue to be a beacon in our lives.