PLEASANTVILLE — After losing her husband and becoming a single mother, Annie Smith has built up her family room and became a successful woman.

Smith’s favorite room is what she refers to as her diva den in her Pleasantville home. She prides herself in filling her happy place with memories of family members and mementos of her world travels.

She also furnishes the room with dolls from around the world as well as gifts from friends and family. Smith claims her space to be her getaway room where she spends most of her days.

Smith is an advocate for women empowerment and Women’s History Month. She was the first woman and first African American to become part of the Pleasantville City Council. She was also the first woman to take the seat for councilwoman-at-large and first black woman pro tempore. She won numerous elections but retired from her position in 2005.

Smith received awards and proclamations, and was also recognized by the Press of Atlantic City as a part of Women of Distinction in May 1994. She also served as assistant principle at Pleasantville High School.

Most people who know Smith call her Anne, but her business partners and sorority sisters, of Phi Delta Kappa and the Delta Lambda chapter, know her as Annie.

“I’ve been here all these years,” Smith said. “I saw my kids and grandkids grow up in these neighborhoods. I wanted to do something and be a change in the community.”

She prides herself on her photo collection that consists of her grandchildren and great grandchildren: Leila, JaShaun, Angelina, Brandi, Jerome, James, Shari and Kayla. She also has photos of her parents, her late husband Melvin Smith Sr., friends and younger self-portraits.

Smith’s parents – Kathleen and Grover Gilmore — are deceased, but she credits them and her grandmother, Burnesepine Gilmore, for the person she is today.

“They taught me encouragement, love, worship and service to others.” Smith said.

A tradition that started with the previous generation, Smith gathers her family members for weekly Sunday dinners. She prepares meals the night prior and creates a buffet for her family.

Today, Smith enjoys retirement with her family members and watching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loves to read to the children and frequently takes part in Read Across America events. She is still involved in the community as well.

“This is my happy place because four generations of family members are in this room, and we all love each other to no end.” Smith said.

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