God Bless You Eddie Dee

Eddie Dee Smith with KVCR reporter Maura Graber and producer Mike Flattery

Yesterday a wonderful person I knew and drew inspiration from passed away. I didn’t know her as well or for as long as many other people in her community.

What a difference this one kindly soul has made. Not just to the people she has helped over the years, but also to the people she had recruited to pitch in with her various projects.

I met Eddie Dee years ago when I was a rookie news photographer. Over the years photographed her at many community events.

But it wasn’t until last year, after I left the newspaper 3 years earlier, that I realized what a gem she truly is.

UC Riverside commissioned me to do a video tribute in her honor in 2007. I had set up at the senior center, appropriately named after her, to record what well wishers and friends thought of her.

Through the course of the afternoon as I listened to each and everyone come in and pour their hearts out about Eddie Dee, I couldn’t help but be touched and moved by her impact on these people.

When I pitched this story to KVCR’s Maura Graber and Mike Flattery, they were of course excited to interview her.

Above is a picture of Eddie Dee visiting with Maura and Mike in February 2007.

Shortly after the story about Eddie Dee aired, I heard her care-giver had absconded with her money and some of her belongings.Like many others, I was extremely disappointed that something like that could have happened, so I went by to check on her.

Despite her obvious disappointment with that setback, she took the time to pray for my family and me. That was the sort of person she was. Always thinking about others.

That was probably in April or May of last year when I saw her last.

Eddie Dee, thank you for crossing paths with me. I am forever richer, wiser and blessed by our brief meeting.

It gives me goose bumps to think what might be possible if every community had just one Eddie Dee Smith.

A viewing will be held July 8 from 4pm to 8 pm at the Mt. Calvary Church. The church which Eddie Dee helped found in the mid-1960 is located at 5476 34th Street in Rubidoux (951)781-0443‎.

The funeral will be held July 9 at 11 a.m. at Park Ave Baptist Church1920 Martin Luther King Blvd in Riverside (951) 684-8782 on July 9.

Following the ceremony, Eddie Dee will be interred at Green Acres Memorial Park in Bloomington, where her husband is buried.

A reception will be held at 2 p.m. at the Eddie Dee Smith Senior Center, 5888 Mission Blvd.