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Remembering Miss Edna Hortense Smith’s 100-Year-Old Legacy
By E. Mesiyah McGinnis, Staff Writer
Published January 20, 2022

Edna Hortense Smith

Edna Hortense Smith was born in Chipley, Florida on September 21, 1921, and celebrated her 100th birthday with her family and friends in Hawthorn, CA, where she was a resident.  She was a teacher in Florida before moving to California, where she continued her career in education.

Ms. Edna was a former graduate of Pepperdine University and was a special education teacher for LAUSD.  She was also a WATTS librarian and an income tax specialist.

Ms. Edna had over 17 grandchildren. She was cared for by her grandchildren, Di Laudia and CDell Sims.  She loved to watch CNN news daily and loved to read books to all her children, grandkids, and the children throughout the neighborhood.  Ms. Edna had a passion for crocheting and loved to watch Rev. T.D. Jakes.

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On Feb. 19, 2021, at the age of 99, Edna was interviewed by inspector, Calabrese of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. police department about her grandfather who was the first African American constable/police officer during the Jim Crow era, and she stated that she traveled to Mt. Pleasant as a child to visit and recalls her grandfather being a wonderful man who valued education and being a good citizen; values that he passed down to his family stated on the Mt. Pleasant Police Department Facebook page.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Edna Hortense Smith, and niece, Debra Jenkins-Lewis (Chicago). (Courtesy photo)

Ms. Lewis loved her family and family gatherings. She was the oldest living descendant to the late, Edmund Jenkins – Mt. Pleasant, S.C. town constable during the Jim Crow Era. (Edmund Jenkins Homes, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)

“My Condolences to Walter and Edmund Smith and Family. May God continue to lift you and your family up during this difficult time and provide each of you with the needed strength,” said Rick Aldridge.

On September 18, 2021, Ms. Edna’s family gave her a huge 100th birthday party.   The event was a big success with Congresswoman Maxine Waters as her special surprise guest.  The 100th birthday celebration was at her beautiful home.  Her family said she was elated and beyond happy.

Ms. Edna’s niece, Debra Jenkins-Lewis came from Chicago and with the family, helped ensure the family gathering for relatives to join and friends for the worthy cause and a life well-lived.  “It was an honor for our family to ensure such a great legacy of such fine and well-respected matriarch of our family for 100 years,” said Lewis.


In Ms. Edna’s own words … “Hold your head up. Put your trust in God; it got me through life.”

Ms. Edna resided in Hawthorn.  She passed away on January 1, 2022.  She liked listening to Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson, and she loved eating chicken and rice.  She leaves to cherish and not to mourn, her sister, Delores McCall of Los Angeles CA, her two sons, Edmund Smith and Walter Smith, and a host of relatives.

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Categories: Education | Family | Lifestyle | Local | News (Family)
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