Mable Frances Blair, the youngest of four daughters born to the late William Marcus and Nannie Williams Blair on March 22, 1924, in Houston, Texas. She had three older sisters, Wilma Blair, Katherine Blair, and Edna Blair. They were born into a Christian family and baptized at the age of eight (8) at the West Point Baptist Church in Galveston, Texas. Their father died in 1927 at which time at very young ages, they were raised by their mother as a single parent who worked three jobs to support their family.
Mable and her 3 sisters were avidly involved in music, marching band, and church activities while growing up in Galveston, Texas. Her family experienced many challenges while growing up including poverty, racism, and having no father. However, despite these temporary challenges, Mable and her 3 sisters all grew up to eventually become extremely successful, get married, raise families and have prominent careers. Mable graduated with honors from Phyllis Wheatley High School in Galveston, Texas in 1942. She then graduated from Hughes Secretarial School. During that time, she also took private piano lessons and became a well acclaimed pianist for her church and other organizations within the Houston and Galveston, Texas community. She later enrolled in the Taylor School of Fashion and Design to learn how to design fashions.
Mable eventually relocated to Plainfield, NJ in 1950 where she met and married her husband, the late Louis F. Smith of Charlottesville, Virginia. They were married on June 18, 1955. They later had one son, Louis Gregory Smith, and were happily married for over 34 years until the death of her husband in 1989. During their marriage Mable was a dedicated and loving wife and mother. She also worked part time in various jobs and was involved in numerous community service based activities.
Mable later joined the Plainfield Board of Education where she worked for over 23 years as a teacher aide, board administrator and tutor for kindergarten, grammar school, middle school, and high school students in Plainfield including working with special education students. One of the things she was most proud of was working with special education children where she had numerous opportunities to “save a small child from an abusive situation at home, and turn them into a thriving, kind, and well-educated student.” During this time, Mable also attended Union County College and Kean College (now Kean University) while employed by the Plainfield Board of Education. She retired in 1994, to dedicate her time to her family, church, choir, fraternal, and numerous other volunteer activities.
While working, Mable was a member of the United Church of Christ, Congregational, where she was chair of the choir education committee, a deaconess of the church, lay recorder for interfaith services, and president of the Negro history club and debating team. In response to a special request by the Plainfield Superintendent, Mable later returned to part-time work with the Plainfield Board of Education as an after-school counselor and tutor for the inner-city youth. She treasured this experience. Mable was an active member and Past Worthy Matron of Rebecca Chapter # 1, Order of the Eastern Stars, Prince Hall Affiliation, (OES, P.H.A.) and the Golden Circle.
She sang for many years with numerous prominent musical organizations including being a charter member of The New Jersey Schola Cantorum (30 years), The Ric Charles Coral Ensemble, Bethel Baptist Church Choir, United Church of Christ Choir, and Fountain Baptist Church Choir. She was invited to perform religious classical music in various prominent concerts and joined other volunteer musical groups to sing Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Center in New York at Christmastime. For 30 years, Mable performed at the annual Good Friday concert at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield where they offered Beethoven's Mass in C and Mozart's Mass in C minor, continuing a tradition, which began in 1973, to benefit the Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. In the mid 1970’s she also sang in the choir at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield with the legendary late Duke Ellington. She was also a well-respected organist and pianist in various musical circles.
Mable’s passions were music, history (liked to study national and international maps), bible study, sewing, sports, movies, and children’s activities. She also enjoyed designing and creating fashions for herself, family, and customers. At one point, she operated a small business as a seamstress. Mable regularly read, watched the news and stayed on top of current events.
However, her greatest talent was her cooking. She spent many hours cooking for family and friends and carrying the legacy of her mother, Nannie Blair who would often say “cooking is the best way to express love and fellowship to family and friends.” Many of her recipes and delicious dishes are still very popular with her family and close friends.
Mable truly loved and cared for her family and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. She attended many youth dance recitals, soccer games, martial arts tests, shows, musical concerts, and eventually high school and Division 1 college volleyball and basketball games to watch her grandchildren perform. Her fellowship, creative musical talent, social involvement, societal contribution, and love to many will be greatly missed.
She is survived by her son, Louis Gregory Smith and his wife Frances M. Smith of Flemington, NJ, two grandchildren, Nia Frances Smith of Edgewater, NJ, and Louis Gregory Smith, II of New York, NY, three nieces, Patsy Quarrels of Cleveland, OH, and Cathy and Christy Hadnot of Cleveland, OH, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews, and hundreds of beloved friends and acquaintances.
She was called home in a peaceful manner to be with the Lord. A life well lived and a job well done by a good, true, and faithful servant. She will be greatly missed by all who loved her and all she loved.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mable F Smith, please visit our floral store.