Annie Wilkins (Valentine)
Annie Valentine Smith Wilkins celebrated her 96th birthday on October 9, 2017 with family and passed peacefully into eternal life on December 29, 2017 after a long illness.
Annie was born in 1921 in Weldon, North Carolina to William Henry Valentine and Annie Ivey Sledge Valentine. The youngest child of the family, she joined big sister Bessie and seven brothers, George, Richard, and Louis Sledge, and William, Jr., Aleck, Willie and Edward Valentine. She grew up in a close and loving family she was always known as Ann.
Ann was a beautiful, gentle, caring, hard-working, family-oriented person. She loved music and was an excellent cook. Ann gave her life to the Lord at an early age. She was active in many church activities, including the church choir. She continued to show her love for the Lord, her family, music, and cooking for the rest of her life.
Educated in the public schools of Weldon, NC, Ann graduated as Valedictorian and attended Bennett College on a full scholarship. Her love of music and singing were an important part of her life and she sang in the Bennett College Choir. Ann graduated from Bennett College in 1943 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics and obtained teaching positions in Maryland and later, North Carolina. Ann epitomized the ideal Bennett Woman: well-educated, service oriented, productive, professional, informed, a participating citizen and an enlightened parent, interested in lifelong learning and leadership. She continued to give back to her alma mater throughout her life.
While at Bennett, she met Graham Smith who was then attending North Carolina A & T before becoming an original member of the legendary World War ll history makers, the Tuskegee Airmen. On the side of his plane, he painted "Val Ann" for his sweetheart, Ann Valentine.
Joyously, she and her handsome Captain Graham Smith married in 1943. Ann accompanied her husband to various military bases throughout the United States. They were blessed with two daughters, Angela Marietta and Deanndria Deloris. The family relocated to Los Angeles for a brief stint before being transferred back to New York. In Brooklyn, NY, they were surrounded by many close relatives. Captain Graham Smith was reported Missing in Action during the Korean war and later declared deceased. Ann continued providing a loving household for her two girls and went to work as a caseworker for the City of New York.
Ann provided a good life for her girls, sending them to dance class, away summer camps and lots of church activities at Bridge Street AME Church. After one wonderful family trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Anne and the girls stopped through Stamford, CT where Angela suddenly became ill and tragically died after a brief illness.
Ann worked to rebuild her life and went back to school to update her credentials and return to teaching. During this time she met Samuel Arthur Wilkins, Jr. Sam and Ann blended their lives and married in 1967. They moved to Greenburgh, New York where they began to build a long, happy, successful life together.
Ann continued her schooling and obtained a Master of Arts degree from New York University in Education and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Manhattan College. She worked in the New York City Public School System as a teacher and guidance counselor. Her last assignment was at Walton High School in the Bronx, where she retired after 25 years of service. She and Sam later established a business, Hillside Development Corporation, which specialized in residential and commercial development, where she served as Vice President for many years.
A proud mother and grandmother, Ann played a central role in the life of her granddaughter, Kimberly, who spent many summers in White Plains. Each of Kimberly's accomplishments brought her joy. Grandmother Ann was always there, beaming with pride at each one of Kimberly's graduations, from kindergarten through medical school. She was delighted to be at her granddaughter's wedding and ecstatic to welcome her great-grandchildren, Vivienne and David II to the family.
Very involved in her community, Ann was a member and Past President of the New York City Chapter of the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. and Club Maranyos. She was a Girl Scout Leader; member and Past Vice-President, Westchester Community Opportunity Program; member and Past President, Westchester Chapter Bennett College Alumnae Association; Recruiter and Member of the Board of Visitors of Bennett College; member and Past President, Garden Club of Parkway Gardens, Federated Garden Clubs of New York; and an active fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the March of Dimes.
Ann was a longtime member of Ridgeview Congregational Church, where she served as a member of the Trustee Board and the Board of Deacons. She sang in the Choir, and was a Sunday School Teacher and a member of the Scholarship Committee.
Ann lived a long and very good life. Blessed with great physical beauty, she was also a beautiful human being. Her smile and kindness were paramount and known to all who were in her presence. Ann was always considerate, understanding and comforting. She made the world a better place.
Ann was predeceased by her husbands, Samuel A. Wilkins, Jr. and Captain Graham Smith, her darling daughter, Angela Smith, her parents, William and Annie Valentine, her sister Bessie Sledge and brothers George, Richard and Louis Sledge and William, Alec, Willie and Edward Valentine.
Ann leaves to celebrate and cherish her life: daughter, Deanndria Deloris Smith; stepson, Michael Wilkins; granddaughter, Dr. Kimberly Trotter (Dr. David); great- grandchildren, Vivienne Anne and David Trotter, II; brothers-in-law, Charles Wilkins, Percell Smith (Elizabeth) and Rogervann Smith (Faye); sisters-in-law Lorraine Wilkins and Dr. Yvonnecris Veal; nieces Carolyn Mills (Ira), Audrey Sledge, Shirley Mae Davis, Christeen McNeil (Stephen), Patricia Phifer (Larry), Beverly Lawrence (Rodney), Gail Smith, Margaret Mitchell, and Lisa Moya (Carlos); nephews George Valentine, Eugene Valentine, Rudolph Valentine, Fred E. White, Jr. (Patrice), Henry Randolph (Felicia), Dr. Erich Randolph (Suzette), Dr. Edward Smith, Jr. (Mona), Dr. Michael Veal, Thomas Wilkins, Jr. (Sonya), Mark Wilkins, Gerrod Wilkins (Rachel), Christopher Wilkins, and Charles Wilkins, Jr. (Kunika) along with a host of other dear relatives and friends who will always cherish her sweet memory.
The Entire Staff of Lee's Funeral Home, LLC respects that the family of Annie Wilkins entrusted the care of their loved one to us, and that they value the level of service & attention our funeral home provides. We are honored, in turn, to provide comfort, assistance and service to the family of Annie Wilkins during their time of bereavement.
In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates/kindly requests memorial donations be made in her name to Bennett College (online here through donation tab on menu here)