Ernestine Bell Smalls was born October 2, 1922 to the late Roy and Carrie Louise Bell in Chicago, Illinois. She was the second of nine children. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois where she attended Foster Elementary and Evanston Township High School. Ernestine had a very active childhood spending time with friends and family, yet she still had time to help in the family laundry business. She also worked for doctor Elizabeth Hill throughout her high school years. Ern, as she was affectionally called was truly a blessing to her family and got to name three of her younger siblings. Her brothers and sisters loved and respected their big sister and let her select the colleges that they attended. At an early age she always knew that education was important. In 1940 Ernestine attended Howard University in Washington D.C. where she would meet her future husband. While at Howard she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in psychology in 1944 and a master degree in 1946. After receiving her degree, she became a school psychologist in Gary, Indiana. For a few years.
Ernestine was married to Herbert Roy Smalls for nearly sixty years. They moved to Dayton in the early '50s'. To that union they had two devoted and loving children, Herbert Roy Smalls "Flip" of Slidell, La. and Teri Yvonne Smalls "Dol" of Dayton, Oh.
Ernestine took pride in everything she did and became an active homeroom mother at Westwood Elementary School. She was the neighborhood babysitter. She always took continuing educational classes to keep her psychologist current. Ern also took sewing and cake decorating classes at the Summit St. YWCA. Soon after that she was teaching cooking lessons to young teenager girls there. She was a Water Safety Instructor for the Red Cross and taught swimming at Mallory Pool. She even has to certify her husband to teach swimming. Ern always saw a need to help others so she went back to work as one of the first Black psychologist for Dayton Public Schools. After working there for a few years she decided to go back to school to get her Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati. She worked to Central Community Health Board for twenty- two years in Cincinnati. She retired at the age of seventy-six.
Ernestine was a devoted Christian arid baptized at an early age at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Evanston, ll. After moving to Dayton, she became a member of Corinthian Baptist Church. She was a Sunday School teacher and served as acting Sunday School Superintend. She was a member of the Dorcus Missionary Circle. She worked faithfully in the church kitchen for years.
Ernestine was our '"Wonder Women." She was an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for seventy-eight years and pass president of the Dayton Alumnae Chapter. She was a charter member of two other chapters. She was an avid bridge player and a member of "The 13 Tricks, Swankettes, Noname, Duplicate Bridge Club and the Couples Bridge Club. Some of her other organizations were charter members of Dayton chapter of Tots and Teens of America, Top Ladies of Distinction and Epicureans. In her latter years she became a member of The Gourmet Cooking Club.
Ernestine was proceeded in death by her husband Herbert R. Smalls; five brothers Roy Jr., Eugene, Raymond, Harold and William Bell; two sisters Grace Louise and Yvonne Bell and sister in law Mary Bell. She leaves to mourn, children Herbert and Teri Smalls, sister Terriann Langston, sister in law Barbara Jones and many nieces and nephews and too many more to name, along with a host of family members and friends.
Funeral service will be held at 11:30 am Tuesday January 3, 2023 at Corinthian Baptist Church, 700 S. James H. McGee Blvd, Dayton, Ohio 45402. Omega Omega Service at 10am, with walk through visitation immediately following. Interment: Dayton National Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to THOMAS FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY, 4520 Salem Ave. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.thomasfunerals.com.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority/DelSig.