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Brenda E. Smith, 57, executive with Verizon Communications Inc.

Brenda E. Smith, a Verizon Communications Inc. executive who loved golf and dancing, died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday at her home in Mitchellville. She was 57.

Born Brenda Eaton, she grew up in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore, and attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. After graduating, she returned to Baltimore and in 1969 became a home economics teacher at Western High School. While there she helped found the Fashionette Club, a group that encourages style-conscious young women to further themselves.

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In 1978, she left Western and became head of the home economics department at the then-new Centennial High School in Columbia. That year, she also began working toward a master's degree in business administration at the University of Baltimore.

"She knew she wanted another life," said her husband, Carl Smith. After receiving her degree, Mrs. Smith went to work in 1980 for Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., which eventually became part of Verizon. She started as a group manager in the central office switching department.

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She won several promotions, eventually becoming the director of advanced intelligent network design. In recent years, she oversaw planning of "call intercept," a feature that filters out calls from unknown numbers, including those of telemarketers.

Mrs. Smith deeply enjoyed her job, said her husband, who is a retired Verizon executive. She also loved dancing - as a teen-ager, she appeared on the Buddy Deane Show, and won a dance contest.

The Smiths had known each other casually since the early 1980s. In 1989, Mrs. Smith called up her future husband, told him she was separated, and asked him to accompany her to a formal dance. "She had chutzpah," Mr. Smith said. The couple married four years later.

Mr. Smith introduced his wife to golf, which she came to love. They lived next to Country Club of Woodmore, and played that course often. As recently as May, she was hitting golf balls. "She's legendary at the club," Mr. Smith said. "She just fought and scratched for every stroke."

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Largo Community Church, 1701 Enterprise Road in Mitchellville.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Jesse Edwards III of Tallahassee, Fla.; two brothers, Wardell Eaton of Baltimore and Stephen Eaton of Worcester, Mass.; two sisters, Denise Adah of Randallstown and Veronica Kuyinu of Nigeria; and one grandson. Her marriage to Jesse Edwards Jr. ended in divorce.


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