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B. Smith is Dead at 70

The lifestyle guru and restaurateur battled early onset Alzheimer's disease
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2020 12:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Model, restaurateur and lifestyle guru Barbara "B." Smith has died at her Long Island home, her family announced in a statement on social media. She was 70, the AP reports. Smith died Saturday evening after battling early onset Alzheimer's disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2013. She and her husband, Dan Gasby, raised awareness of the disease, and particularly its impacts on the African American community, following her diagnosis. "Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.'s dazzling and unforgettable smile," Gasby said in a lengthy Facebook post honoring her life. Smith wrote three cookbooks, founded three successful restaurants and launched a nationally syndicated television show and a magazine.

Her successful home products line was the first from a black woman to be sold at a nationwide retailer when it debuted in 2001 at Bed Bath & Beyond. In 1976, she became the second black model to be on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine, after Joli Jones in 1969. Some described Smith as a "black Martha Stewart," a comparison she said she didn't mind though she believed the two lifestyle mavens were quite different. Smith began suffering from memory problems years before her diagnosis. In 2018, Gasby revealed that he was in a relationship with another woman while caring for his ailing wife, leading to harsh criticism from some of her fans. Smith, a native of Pennsylvania, is survived by Gasby, whom she married in 1992, and her stepdaughter Dana Gasby.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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