Jessie Egan Smith blessed those who knew her. She had a special smile, an engaging laugh, a competitive spirit and a heart filled with love for her family and friends. She loved being around her family, especially her two younger brothers, Pete and Eli, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
She has 28 first cousins and honored them when she was in the third grade in a poetry contest sponsored by a local public radio station. “Cousins, cousins I’ve got dozens. Tall, small. I love them all…”
She was proud of her Irish heritage. Her middle name, Egan, is taken from her great-grandmother Annie Egan, whose birthplace in Kiltimagh Ireland, she visited along with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents – a group of 40. The family trip was a Christmas gift from her grandparents.
Sports played a big part in her life, from grade school basketball to high school lacrosse. But she had a special love for running, starting with cross-country at St. Anne School in Castle Shannon and continuing at Seton La-Salle High School in Mt. Lebanon. After graduating, she was an assistant cross country coach at Seton. She ran the Erie Half-Marathon in 2012 and the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2013.
Jessie’s circle of friends expanded from St. Anne to Seton-LaSalle to Duquesne University, where she joined the Sigma Kappa sorority and gained a new family of sisters. As she moved into the workplace, first at Talbot’s and later at The Loft, BCBG and J. Crew, the circle grew still wider. Her remarkable sense of style was a perfect fit for her chosen career in retail fashion. She gained loyal customers who sought her advice outfitting them in a ways that made them feel great.
Rarely a birthday or anniversary of anyone she knew passed without some acknowledgement, whether through a card, a small gift or a phone call – or all three. When receiving a gift or a kindness, she always remembered to send thank you notes, letting people know how much she appreciated their thoughts and generosity.
Throughout her life, she had a special place in her heart for children, especially those in need. During 8th grade, she traveled with a cousin to Immokalee Florida, to work with migrant children and as a young woman organized fund-raising events for St. Jude Children’s Hospital to benefit children with cancer. She used the marathon to raise money for children with disabilities.
She had a sharp sense of humor and looked at the world with her unique wit. Commenting on her parents’ wedding anniversary, she said to friends “Congrats to my parents who celebrated their 31th anniversary, I can’t even commit to a dry cleaner.” When asked, “What’s the magic word?” she would invariably respond: “Hurry!”
In 2013, she bought a house in Pittsburgh’s neighborhood of Duquesne Heights, and delighted in making it her home, where she could relax and entertain friends. She shared her home with two friends and her two dogs, Morris and Max.