Ann Dinneen Smith, 91 of Cheyenne passed away peacefully at home with family by her side on February 13, 2019.
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Ann was born in Cheyenne’s Memorial Hospital on April 13, 1927 to William J. and Anna (McGarry) Dinneen.
She attended St. Mary’s School in Cheyenne during WWII. Ann would recall the difficult times with her brother and cousins away. Gas rations, evening curfews and the many dinners her family hosted for the military boys based in Cheyenne.
Ann attended the all-girls Catholic College of New Rochelle in New York - an Ursuline Academy run by Ursuline Nuns.
In 1947, during Ann’s sophomore year in college, Ann was selected as Miss Frontier. At that point, Ann came back to Wyoming to finish her studies and graduated from the University of Wyoming, with honors in English Literature.
During Ann’s reign as Miss Frontier, a CFD official thought her buckskin outfit was too short. He could see her knees when she rode her horse. Ann solved the problem by adding an extra layer of fringe to her white leather garment.
Ann taught 9th grade English at Johnson Junior High. She played in a ukulele band, studied piano and was an organist for St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Ann married Clark Arthur Smith on Feb. 24, 1951 with special permission from the Bishop to marry during Lent. Together they made a great team. With their family of seven children, they moved to New Mexico and later to the bay area in California. Ann taught junior high until the age of 36 when the lack of teaching jobs allowed her to partner with Clark as a real-estate broker. She became one of the first woman-owned real estate companies in Northern California, managing between 50 and 100 agents. She sold real estate when women were not allowed to wear pants in the work place. Ann received awards as top sales person and was affectionately given the nick name “Mother Smith.”
When Ann and Clark moved back to Cheyenne, they opened some of the first Century 21 and ReMax franchises. They also started the Multiple Listing Exchange.
Ann was involved with civic organizations such as Questers, Rotary Club and a member of St. Mary’s Guild. She was a 50+ year member of W-HEELS, an integral part of Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade. She taught catechism and a former member of the Bridge Club.
Ann’s great-grandfather, Maurice P. Dinneen, migrated from Ireland and homesteaded west of town in 1879. In 1890, Ann’s grandfather, William E. and his uncle, Maurice Jr., founded the Dinneen Bros. Grocery at the corner of Pioneer and 17th Street. William E. also started the Bonton Stables, which rented horse drawn carriages and later automobiles. He became a franchise automobile dealer in 1906.
Ann’s father, William J. Dinneen, Sr., managed the dealership and the Cheyenne Motor Bus Company, a business that grew from the purchase of the struggling Cheyenne Street Trolley in 1924. The bus served Cheyenne and Fort Francis E. Warren until after WWII.
Ann enjoyed traveling with her family, taking world cruises and golf trips to Europe with Clark. She enjoyed listening to classical music, watching her sons play trombone in jazz festivals, marching bands and piano concerts. She loved intellectual discussions and could banter with the best with a wit that stayed with her until the end. She would quote poetry and lyrics, lighting up a room with her wit, humor and gift of storytelling.
Most of all, Ann enjoyed being a mother. She set an example for her children in balancing the real-estate business with her home life. She would get breakfast on the table for seven kids and come home after work and serve a hot home-cooked meal. She was the epitome of true love and a woman of wisdom and grace, willing to give to any member of her family whatever that person needed.
Ann was a 28-year breast cancer survivor. Ann authored the history of her father’s family, “The Dinneen Family History” available for viewing in the Wyoming History and Ancestry section in the Cheyenne Library. Ann also authored a book of her mother’s family titled simply “McGarry,” a book of “Prayers and Readings,” and the Miss Frontier Booklet affectionately referred to as the “The Queen Book.”
Ann is survived by her husband of 68 years, Clark A. Smith; children, Tim Smith (Sue), Chris Smith (Diane), Paul Smith, Amy Smith (Scott), Annie Smith-Jackson (Edward) and William Smith; grandchildren, Casey, Katie and Alisa; step-grandchildren, Jack, Maggie and Caroline; great-grandchildren, Eliza, Levi, Harrison and Wyatt; sister-in-law, Marietta Trowbridge Dinneen; nephews, John and Jim; great-nieces and nephews, Will, Claire, Ryan, Tom and Liz Dinneen, Andrew and John Jr. Roedel, Katie, John, Tim and Patrick Lynch, Donna, Mary, Beth, Laura, Kathleen, Edward, Julie, Mary-Barbara, Critter and Amy Murray; and several grandnieces, nephews and cousins.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her son, Clark Jr.; sister, Kate Dinneen Rhoades; stepmother, Margaret Lynch Dinneen; brothers and sisters, William J. Dinneen, Jr, John Lynch, Margaret Lynch Cunningham, and Priscilla Lynch Roedel; cousins, Bill, Ned and Don Murray, Diane Murray Twine, Kate Murray Foster, Mary Murray Jackson, Nancy Dutton, Kay Akona and Helen McGraw.
Friends may contribute to St. Mary’s Cathedral, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Laramie County Library, Cheyenne Rotary Foundation, Kiwanis Stars of Tomorrow, Cheyenne Symphony, All City Children’s Choir and the University of Wyoming.
A Funeral Liturgy will be held on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral with Father Andrew Kinstetter celebrating. Interment will follow in Olivet Cemetery.