Anne Allbright Smith, 87, of Woodland Pond at New Paltz (NY) left this life on November 7, 2020 largely as she had led it — on her own terms. Her mind remained sharp but once corticobasal syndrome stripped her of the physical ability to do those things important to her, she voluntarily stopped eating and drinking (VSED).
An upbringing in Hinsdale, IL led to a prep school Southern belle education at Chatham Hall in VA; a fun time at Vassar when women reigned and rode bikes to class in Bermuda shorts and fur coats; then Union Theological Seminary and BOYS. Nine years teaching at The Day School in Manhattan introduced her to the world of Children. She developed a creative curriculum with lots of geology from Vassar and from working at a geology ranch in Dubois, WY.
On her first day teaching third grade, she walked nervously into her classroom at 8AM to discover a rather nice vase of fresh flowers from this guy Ray whom she’d been dating. She thought right then about marrying him. They moved to Pound Ridge, NY and had two children, Randy (Wanda Kelly) and Rebecca (Ron Decker). It wasn’t always easy but she loved being a mommy more than anything.
In midlife Anne followed Becca into the USPC, became District Commissioner of Goldens Bridge Hounds Pony Club; founded Honey Hollow Pony Club; and became Metro Region supervisor. While watching her daughter ride off into the woods during a hunter pace, Anne vowed not to get left out again. She took riding lessons and was on that pace a year later.
Later she and Ray moved to Gardiner, NY, close to the Shawangunk Mountains, where they had been hiking weekly. They were founding members of Gardiner Gazette and on the board for eight years. Somewhere along the line Anne became a dog trainer, after her mixed breed Sid placed seventh in his division in the USDAA finals in San Antonio in 1995. Her Blue Heelers (Australian Cattle Dogs) Anzac and Diggy became her best buddies, claiming titles in tracking, agility, obedience and rally before Anne concluded acquiring rosettes less important.
She began monitoring Eastern Box Turtles with the dogs and, after 10 years, they self-published a summary of the project, The Silence of the Bell: Monitoring Eastern Box Turtles with Australian Cattle Dogs, available on Amazon. Anzac certified as a therapy dog; was read to by kids at the Elting Library in New Paltz; and visited residents in the Health Center at Woodland Pond, later being joined by Ray and Diggy.
In final years at Woodland Pond Anne and Ray collected 37 stories from veterans and self-published Wartimes Remembered. They acquired a motion sensitive cam and gave four winter programs, What’s Happening at the Beaver Pond? Ray became a member of the WP Board and Anne a member of the Residents’ Council.
Copeland-Hammerl Funeral Home is honored to assist Anne’s family with the arrangements.