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Denessa Smith
Birth: Aug. 25, 1965
Wayne County
Michigan, USA
Death: Jul. 28, 2008
Lincoln Park
Wayne County
Michigan, USA

Survived by her domestic partner, Annette Crossman, her mother, Nancy Karner and her son, John, 17.

Denessa Smith, Lincoln Park
Mom founded anti-bullying foundation in daughter's honor

LINCOLN PARK -- A personal tragedy spurred Denessa Smith to teach children the importance of tolerance.

Ms. Smith of Lincoln Park died Monday, July 28, 2008, in St. Joseph-Mercy Hospital near Ann Arbor of complications from surgery. She was 42.

She was born Aug. 25, 1965, in Detroit. She was a straight-A student who enjoyed a perfect attendance record from first grade through high school. Her family moved to Louisiana while she was in high school. After she graduated in 1983, she moved back to Metro Detroit.

In 2003, Ms. Smith founded the Tempest Smith Foundation, an organization named after her 12-year-old daughter, who committed suicide in February 2001. The girl had been teased by her classmates at Lincoln Park Middle School. A notebook found in Tempest's bedroom after the suicide contained her writings about the abuse, and several of her classmates showed up at the funeral and tearfully apologized to family members for how they had treated her.

After The Detroit News reported on the suicide and told how Tempest had been teased in part because of her interest in the Wiccan religion, Ms. Smith was flooded with e-mails and phone calls from members of that community, along with dozens of other people who had either been teased in school, or had children who were being bullied.

Ms. Smith, a longtime manager at McDonald's, decided to dedicate her life to warning children and educators about the sometimes devastating effects of teasing, said her domestic partner, Annette Crossman.

"The first year (after the suicide) there was a lot of anger and sadness," Crossman said. "But she eventually decided to turn this negative into a positive."

The Tempest Smith foundation -- an acronym for Train, Educate, & Motivate Parents, Educators & Students in Tolerance -- produced anti-bullying literature and pointed victims of teasing and bullying to agencies that could help them. Ms. Smith also went into Metro Detroit elementary and middle schools and spoke to students, teachers and school administrators about the importance of tolerance.

"Hopefully, the foundation will continue," said Ms. Smith's mother, Nancy Karner.

Ms. Smith was a Mason involved in several other organizations including the Triangle Foundation, Eastern Star and P-FLAG. She helped the effort to pass the proposed Michigan anti-bullying legislation known as "Matt's Safe School Law."

Survivors include her son, John, 17. Ms. Smith was cremated.

These words are from the Pagan Book of Living and Dying….

O I can see the faces there - many ages, many colors-
as they gaze far away into the evening.
There are friends that I know and so many, many others,
and they're eager for the journey to begin.
Some have come there with their loves, some have come alone;
they all embrace in the light and in the shadow.
And we say our farewells, with our arms around each other,
and you tell me I will see you again.
And you tell me I WILL see you again.

Well, I am happy for you then,
on your journey toward a new home,
but, when I wake, all that I know
is: you are gone.
And I can dream you in that place -
laughing, smiling, healthy, and strong,
but when I wake, all that I know
is: you are gone.
Some days, tears are all I have,
some days, anger and despair,
and sometimes, dreams are all I have
since you are gone.
You are gone.

So fly away, my love, on that violet ship of beauty,
fly away thought the night to the morning,
fly away, my love, on the silken, purple sails,
fly away through the darkness to the dawn.
Fly away into the night,
fly away into the stars,
fly away into the dawn,
to lovers' arms.

****Special thanks to Find A Grave contributor Shandril for sponsoring this memorial for Denessa Smith.****

***Please take a moment to visit Tempest Kayne Smith

Family links: 
  Tempest Kayne Smith (1988 - 2001)*
*Calculated relationship
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Created by: Rosie
Record added: Aug 05, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28795073
Denessa Smith
Added by: Rosie
Denessa Smith
Added by: Rosie
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 Added: Feb. 20, 2017

- Mary
 Added: Feb. 20, 2017
you and your daughters story will lost forever you were a trendsetter for anti bullying hope you and your daughter are at peace and together
- jbmontana
 Added: Dec. 21, 2016
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