Barbara was born on January 1, 1932, in St. Louis, MO, at City Hospital #2. She was the daughter of Wesley Pascal and Christiana Temple. Barbara had an older sister, Helena
Evans, 21 years her senior, and a younger brother, Leslie Eugene Temple, born approximately
six minutes after — her twin brother. She and her twin were the 1st African American twins
born in St. Louis in 1932. Both siblings preceded her in death.
By trade, Barbara’s father was a printer and her mother was a master seamstress and an
occasional domestic. Her childhood was filled with a love of reading, playing outside,
and sports! She often reminisced about being called “Sister” and her brother being called
“Brother” by everyone in the neighborhood.
Barbara attended the St. Louis public schools. She spoke fondly of living across the street
from Waring Elementary School and all the perks that came with it (going home for lunch
and locking her brother outside!). She graduated from Vashon High School in 1949.
Barbara loved sports! Tennis, baseball, and track and field were a few of her favorites. There
was a special place in her heart for the many sports teams on which her son’s played. She
spent countless hours on the little league field keeping score and bringing snacks. Barbara
was a sports “person” in her own right, too. She was an avid bowler for many years and
bowled a near-perfect 299 game as one of her many achievements.
Barbara was also an avid reader and a great lover of enrichment activities whether cultural,
educational, or just plain fun. She enjoyed live plays and concerts, a good game of Scrabble,
and all things PBS.
At work, at home, or at play she gave 100%, and she succeeded because she didn’t please
She worked consistently through good times and hard times to do what was best for her
children, family, and friends. It wasn’t easy. All of her decisions were not popular, yet if
you ask her children (and extended family) what they thought of her, you would hear some
version of, “she loved fiercely and cared deeply.” Barbara commanded respect, guided with
firm compassion, and led her life with competence and integrity.
Barbara retired from the “Records Center” working as a Systems Analyst in 1988. She met
and befriended many collegues during her 32 years of service. She made best friends and
worked with a cast of characters alike. Oh, the stories she could tell!
Barbara could easily be labeled as “a cut above the norm,” “out of the ordinary,” and “very
special.” To use those words we know that one has to truly embody the terms or they become
meaningless. With confidence we can say, without the slightest hesitation, “Barbara J. Smith
was a very special person.”
Barbara leaves to cherish her memory: her children, Leslie Grant, the late Starlita
Grant, Lindley “Alkebulan” Smith, Levi Smith, and Shawnette (Clayton) Sharp; twelve
grandchildren, Lynette, Leeland, Kimberly, Christopher, Latasha, Levi IV, Cynnamon,
Elijah, Saquera, Barbara, Mekesa, and Emma; great and great-great-grandchildren; and a
host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and special friends.
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