Fans of Everson native B. Smith lash out at her husband for dating while she fights Alzheimer’s disease
While Everson native and well-known model, author and television host Barbara Smith — widely known as B. Smith — battles Alzheimer’s disease, her husband is catching flack after announcing a new relationship on social media.
The Southmoreland High School graduate got her start after attending a modeling school in Pittsburgh, which kickstarted her career working for companies like Revlon, Clairol and more. But a 2013 diagnosis brought her career as a restaurateur, author and host of “B. Smith With Style” to a halt, the Today Show reported .
Now, husband Dan Gasby is under fire after he announced he is in a relationship with Alex Lerner.
“’Hate it or Love it!’ You can debate, but for me I’m just feelin’ great!,” Gasby wrote on Facebook . “Life’s too short to ask for a rebate so I’m gonna surf thru life before it’s toooo late!!!”
But Smith’s fans also have taken to social media to express their opinions of the relationship.
“B. Smith deserves dignity in every path of her life,” Kenna P. Parker wrote on Twitter. “Her husband made her illness about him. He’s the definition of selfish. Love carries us through these times. Sad for her, they have financial resources but he chooses his girlfriend as a caretaker.”
Other users have called the relationship “heartbreaking,” “wild” and “horrible.”
“I don’t believe death do you part means that because you made a commitment, if the person is not there, that you should sit there and watch your life shrivel up,” Gasby said in an interview with The Washington Post .
According to the Today Show, Lerner lives part-time with Gasby, helping to care for Smith. Photos on Gasby’s Facebook page show Smith and Lerner posing for pictures together.
Twitter user Kenedra wrote, “This B. Smith story is sooo stressful…like it’s so disrespectful to have that woman all up in her house!!”
Gasby’s daughter Dana defended the relationship to The Washington Post, saying that Lerner is helpful and caring toward Smith, adding, “I love them together.”
Several comments on Gasby’s Facebook photos show support for the situation and for his new relationship.
“Caregiving makes you realize how special life is,” Gasby told The Washington Post. “It makes you realize how important moments are. It makes you really understand and appreciate the fact that at any given moment a person who is caring for someone, could need to be cared for.”
In her heyday, Smith appeared on 15 magazine covers and in 1976 became the first African-American woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine. She appeared in advertisements for Mercedes-Benz and worked as a product spokeswoman for Verizon, Colgate Palmolive Oxy and McCormick’s Lawry seasonings products. Smith travelled the world as a fashion model and opened restaurants in Washington D.C., Sag Harbor, N.Y., and Times Square in New York City.
In a 2005 Tribune-Review article , Smith credited her success to growing up in Everson.
“I am who I am today because my parents raised me in Western Pennsylvania,” Smith said.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter @MeganTomasic..