B. Smith, model and lifestyle expert, died from early onset Alzheimers at her home in Long Island, NY on Feb. 22. Her husband Dan Gasby and his daughter Dana released a joint statement via social media on Sunday confirming the news.
“It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith,” they wrote via her official Facebook account. “B. died peacefully Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 10:50 pm, of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in our home in Long Island, New York. She was 70.”
They thanked the doctors and caregivers “who made her comfortable in her final days,” as well as her friends and fans who supported her success throughout the years.
Smith, who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, began her career as a model in the mid-1960’s breaking barriers as the first African American model to cover Mademoiselle magazine in 1976. Throughout her career, she was featured on the cover of 15 magazines.
She mad a move to television with two appearances on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, with her second appearance serving as a tour of her restaurant where she cooked alongside host Fred Rogers. She got her own syndicated cable show B. Smith with Style in 1997 that aired for a decade.
Smith owned multiple restaurants, the first of which opened in New York City in 1986. She parlayed her love of cooking and entertaining into becoming an author. She wrote multiple cookbooks and home entertainment titles, including B. Smith: Rituals and Celebration which was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in 1999.
In 2013, Smith was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She and her husband Gasby wrote a book in 2016 about their experience and to share helpful advice called Before I Forget in 2016.
Gasby says of his wife, “Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile.”