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Diana Edwards Smith

Obituary of Diana Wayne Edwards Smith

On March 6, 2023, our Lord and Savior called on His child, Diana Wayne Edwards Smith, to come home. She unexpectantly passed away in the home she shared with her loving husband Edward. Diana was a lot of things to a lot of people – a wife, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, Bible School and church companion, advice giver, an all-around wonderful woman. Friends and family have typically described her as warm, hospitable, outgoing, loving, compassionate, quick witted, irreverent, funny, dignified, generous, professional, well-traveled, and intelligent. She touched many with her kind words but was not afraid to speak her mind in the most compassionate way. She loved order – if you have ever been to her home, you would always see it exceptionally clean. Diana was born in her family home located in Northwest Baltimore City Maryland on May 25, 1942, from the union of the late James Henry Edwards and Helen Louise "Weezie" Pinkney as one of two children. Upon graduating from Eastern High School, Diana attended Morgan College from 1960-1964. During her tenure at Morgan, Diana was a Civil Rights Pioneer. She and a host of brave women were arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct at the 1963 Northwood Theater protests. Diana and her peers were arrested and spent several days in jail. As she recounted the heroic events and the historical significance of her actions that day, she made sure to also mention successfully convincing jail staff not to wash her hair (Diana never played when it came to her hair!). A prominent black and white image of Diana being processed by the jail warden graces the walls of the Morgan State University Student Union to this day. Her grandson – MSU Freshman and future pioneer – passes the display of Morgan's Leadership in the Civil Rights Movement from 1947 – 1963 and sees how she and other young women took part in life-changing protests to demand change and equality. An avid reader and historian, Diana was a Graham Foundation Scholar and graduated with her bachelor's degree in History. She later received her graduate degree in Criminal Justice from Coppin State College in the early 1980's. Diana was employed by the City of Baltimore under then Mayor William D. Schaefer as the Director of Human Resources. She also worked for Baltimore Blueprint – an agency devoted to moving individuals and families to independence through case management services; and later Florence Crittenton Services – a residential placement for pregnant and teenage mothers in 1973. This is where she met Eddie. He was a crisis services coordinator; she was a social worker to 30-40 young mothers. Eddie was studying for the Bar during this time and Diana credits herself for "putting Eddie through Law School." Diana and Eddie eventually wed in 1976 and had their only daughter Allison in 1977. Diana's prior work experience with vulnerable populations and effectiveness in using her social work skills to successfully help individuals in crisis prepared her for her greatest challenge and achievement. Diana began working for the YWCA of Greater Baltimore, serving in roles such as a Director of Residential Services and eventually being promoted to Deputy Director. The "Y" at that time and under Diana's leadership was the largest shelter care provider for women, children, and families. She impacted countless lives with her tough love, humor, support, and overall respect from staff and residents alike. Throughout her decades of employment with the "Y", Diana received numerous awards and recognition for her outstanding work. Diana gladly retired from the YWCA in 2004, the same year her first grandchild Aiden Edward was born. She planned to enjoy retirement to the fullest by "sitting at home and folding socks", reading, and watching Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries, historical documentaries, trading recipes, and making purchases off QVC. Diana's humor led to her daughter and son-in-law referring to her sayings as "Diana-isms". Her greatest hits were, "Don't bring nothing home you can't eat" and "the kitchen lights on Friday shine brighter than they do on the Sunday evening before work." She always remained active in lives of her daughter, husband, grandchildren, and countless friends and relatives. After years of demanding work and upon retirement, Diana joined the Baltimore Chapter of Club Dejouir, where she held several key positions. She also served on the Clarence Logan Civil Rights Pioneers Chapter of the Morgan State University Alumni Association. Diana was a brief member of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. But she was especially moved after attending service at Eddie's church home – The New Psalmist Baptist Church – when it was located on the corner of Franklin Cathedral Street and was up the street from the YWCA. She attended many of Pastor Thomas' Wednesday afternoon services and soon had tapes of his sermons in her car and home. Diana professed her life to Christ and was subsequently baptized on March 20, 1993 by Reverend Walter S. Thomas, Pastor. She served on the Board of Managers, the New Psalmist School Board (when the church was located on Old Frederick Rd.); interviewed members for an oral history project initiative; and served on planning committees for various events. Diana attended 7:30 am service most Sundays and was regularly active in her Bible Study group. She spoke fondly of her Church Family and invited others to share in Psalmist's unique and dynamic experience. Diana has kept a journal since July 10, 1978. Throughout the years, she documented her New Year's Resolutions. She listed things such as, "Lose weight, Diana (again)"; "Do a good job at work"; "Take better care of Diana"; "Be a nicer and kinder person"; "Be a better Christian, grow in Christ"; "Go to Communion" and a later notation, "Didn't go…bad, bad"; "See what this year brings for each of us. Look after myself and continue to grow as a mother, wife, daughter, and woman. I love my family, friends, and life. I love my church, pastor, my God and Christ. Thank you, Lord, for all my blessings!" Diana's beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her husband of 47 years, Edward Smith, Jr.; daughter Allison Hall Smith-Holness; son-in-law Carey Lewin Holness; three grandchildren: Aiden Edward, Caitlyn Louise, and Quinn Joy; one brother, Delbert who preceded her in death; and a host of cousins and other devoted relatives and friends.
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Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, April 1, 2023
New Psalmist Baptist Church
6020 Marian Drive
Baltimore, Maryland, United States