Not only was Ann a great mom, a great wife, a great sister, and a great aunt, she was a great teacher. She spent all of her adult life as an early childhood educator, primarily teaching kindergarten. Ann felt very strongly about early childhood development and education.
Ann was an avid runner and combined her love of teaching and running to create “color raps.” She authored a book for children in which the theme matched the beat of her steps, it is called, The Color Rap Book. This book is a tool she created to bring rhymes together with colorful pictures and song to help children learn, identify, and spell colors. She came up with a fun way to introduce colors to the children, the rhythm of her feet hitting the ground provided the beat. Her love of cooking incorporated its way into her introduction of each color – like B-L-U-E for blueberry pie and brown, brown, brownies! Learning was fun and delicious!
Longtime employees of Laurel Auto Group say that Ann was the kind of lady that made cupcakes for employees when they had a birthday, she remembered the names of all their spouses and children, she had a way of making people smile when she was in the building, and she had a way of making people want to do good things for each other.
in 2000, Ann just 50-years- old was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. Shortly after her diagnosis, Ann and her family organized the first Laurel Auto Group Pro-Am Charity Golf Classic to help raise awareness about ovarian cancer. It is solely with the proceeds of this event that our foundation is able to support education programs and awareness of ovarian cancer in Cambria and Somerset Counties .
After a two year battle, Ann died of ovarian cancer in July of 2002. But her unwavering commitment to help others learn about ovarian cancer lives on, stronger today than ever before.
Ann aspired to offer a loving and memorable year for the children in her classroom and to spark a love of learning in them when she was a teacher. It is in this spirit of Ann, that the foundation has partnered up with several local area schools; in particular, the Windber Elementary School where Ann taught for decades. Every year we have launched a mission with the help of Bishop McCort Catholic High School in September, which is ovarian cancer awareness month, to Turn The Towns Teal in cities throughout Cambria and Somerset Counties where we are hoping to raise awareness. We want to spark an interest and inspire anyone that sees teal to do a little research and when they find out it is raising awareness for ovarian cancer, then we are doing our job!
If we can just help one woman, then we are going to make a difference!” -Ann Harris Smith